Engagement- The Cornerstone of Onboarding: A Tale of Two Stories

Engagement is playing a bigger role in sourcing and retention. In the Deloitte 2015 HR Technology Report, John Bersin articulated the next era of HR technology has shifted from automation to engagement. Things like blogs, social communities, tweets, facebook posts, social crowdsourcing, etc. are all strategies that companies are undertaking to remain competitive and retain their human capital investment.

on_imageBut what about that window of time when a candidate is transitioning from their old job into the new one? The Onboarding window. It’s the optimal time to capitialize on the excitement and eagerness of new hires.

Some companies have already started focusing on engagement by shifting away from automated forms and mass structured orientation classes to using social channels, interactive video and/or “buddies” in orientation. This supports research which finds 80% of learning happens in an unstructured environment through conversations with co-workers[1].

Successful onboarding also has a bottom line impact. On average, the cost of finding a replacement for a junior level employee is about 20% of their salary. That percentage increases as the level of seniority increases[2]. Interestingly, new hire turnover within the first 45 days can amount to about 300% of the new hires annual salary[3]. This puts a lot of pressure on companies to get onboarding right.

OB_firstyear

Some companies are still focused on using technology for forms automation and provisioning instead of engagement. The importance of interaction with employees should not be underestimated whether you use technology or not. Consider the following two stories and its impact on retention.

Experience  # 1- High Engagement; Low Automation

Jill* was referred by an employee to a prestigious financial services company. After a number of interviews she was delighted to accept a senior position. Jill was excited to start her new job. Prior to her start date, she was called into the office to complete the new hire paperwork.  She was presented with her offer letter and a number of forms to sign and complete. The entire process took about 30 minutes. She would be notified via phone or email if there were any issues or questions.

Day 1

On her first day, Jill* arrived at the appropriated time and was greeted warmly by the receptionist. After a few minutes, onboarding_1John*; her new Manager, came out to greet her. He welcomed her and showed her to her desk. He told her he would be back in 30 minutes once she got settled in. There was an envelope on Jill’s desk with information to log into her computer, set up her voice mail and keys for her cabinets and office. John came back after 30 minutes and escorted her to his office. After a few minutes of banter he presented her with a word document that outlined her schedule for the first week. He provided an overview of the organizational structure, gave her a seating chart of the floor and talked through what needed to be completed on the first day.

After spending some time going through the schedule, John took Jill around the floor and introduced her to the team. He also introduced her to her “Buddy”, Mark*, who also reported to him. Mark would be her main point of contact for questions and specific work related items. As per the schedule, Jill spent sometime with Mark to get her up to speed and identified some other key contacts she would need to meet over the next week.

At lunch time, John came back and all three of them went for lunch. After lunch; Jill had some time allotted with the Coordinator to complete her benefits enrolment. After that, she completed some mandatory training courses. Around 3:30; Mark came by to visit Jill. He dropped off a few files for Jill to familiarize herself with. He also offered to answer any other questions she had. Jill was glad to have the personal interaction and said she would review the files to get a head start for the next day.

At 4:30 John came by to enquire about Jill’s first day. How was she feeling? How were things? Was the schedule he prepared helpful? Was Mark helpful as a Buddy? Jill was quite happy with the proceedings of the day and found having a buddy extremely helpful. John was glad. He talked about some of the projects she had been assigned to and some of the challenges they were trying to address. John told Jill to call it a day, and said he looked forward to seeing her again tomorrow.

happy_eeAs Jill commuted home she reflected on the day. She was quite impressed with how her the first day unfolded. She was glad John assigned her a Buddy and appreciated his thoughtfulness to make her feel comfortable. She was confident she made the right decision to join this company.

Jill stayed with the company for 5 years.

Tale # 2- High Automation; Low Engagement

Sally* was referral by an employee to a prestigious financial services company. After a number of interviews she was offered and accepted senior position. Sally was excited to start her new job. Prior to her start date, Sally was emailed her offer letter and instructions on how to complete the onboarding process.  The process consisted of completing a series of electronic forms, checklists and collecting banking information. Sally thought the process was quick and efficient. She enjoyed the ability to complete transactions online at her own convenience. She also had the option of emailing her new Manager if she had any questions. This experience renewed her excitement to start her new job.

Day 1

On her first day, Sally arrived at the appropriated time. She was greeted warmly by the receptionist who asked her to wait as her Manager, Amy*, had not arrived yet. Sally waited in the reception area for 30 minutes. When Amy arrived she greeted her warmly, apologized for being late and showed her to her desk. She told her she would be back in a while as she was late for a meeting . Sally took the opportunity to get settled in. The keys for her cabinets and information about her computer were on her desk.

Amy came back after an hour and started to introduce her to other people on the floor. She then returned Sally to her alone_workdesk and asked her to start reviewing some documents on the shared drive. Sally started reading the documents Amy requested. As there was no schedule, Sally did not know what time Amy would come by for lunch. Sally waited for Amy but soon realized lunch wasn’t part of the first day. She decided to go down to the food court by herself. At the elevator she ran into Amy who said she was going to grab a bite, did she want to come? Sally nodded and they went down together. Sally was just about to pay for her sandwich when Amy said she would pay for it. Unsure of what to do, Sally smiled and thanked Amy. They walked back to the office to their individual desks, where Sally ate her lunch alone.

Around 2:30pm Amy came by and asked Sally to meet with her to debrief about some of the projects she needed to become familiar with. After the meeting Sally went back to her desk and started completing information for her benefits and mandatory training.

At about 4:30 Sally got an email from Amy saying she had to leave early and hoped her first day went well. She said she was happy to have her on board and would see her tomorrow. Sally realized she would not have an opportunity to debrief with Amy about her first day. Unsure of when she should leave, Sally decided to pack up and call it a day.

Womancontemplating_istockimage_0As Sally commuted home, she reflected upon the day. Her first day had not been what she expected. In fact it was quite disappointing. She barely spent anytime with Amy and was left alone most of the day. She felt isolated. Her colleagues seemed so busy she felt awkward interrupting them. She also couldn’t believe the lunch mishap. She contemplated whether this was normal behaviour at the company? Was this going to be a good fit after all? Had she made the right decision? It left her with an uneasy feeling. Hopefully tomorrow would be better.

Sally left the company just before her first year anniversary.

The two experiences above are true stories that have been shared with me. Even through Jill and Sally had vastly different experiences, both stories illustrated how important engagement was in cementing the employee experience and retention. I asked Sally if she would have traded a manual process to completing onboarding forms if it meant she could spend more “engagement” time with her Manager and/or co-workers. Without hesitation she said YES.onboarding_mobile

Now picture Millennials entering the workforce. Connected, collaborative, social, mobile, comfortable on multiple device types and demand 24×7 accessibility. Conventional strategies will do little to keep this generation stimulated and engaged. Companies need to capitalize on using blogs, communities and gamification to appeal to this generation. Building rapport can also be multi-dimensional. Tools like Skype/FaceTime can be alternate ways to chat with colleagues or management. Communities to crowdsource or connect with others are familiar ways for Millennials to engage. A Buddy (in person or virtual) is still a wonderful way to help new hires acclimate to the company.

So rethink about your approach to Onboarding. Engagement is the foundation to employee retention!

________________________________________________________________________________________________

* Names have been changed

[1] http://www.socialtext.com/blog/2013/05/goodbye-boring-orientation-hello-social-onboarding/

[2] Ibid

[3] https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20141014104815-21377985-driving-people-excellence-through-social-onboarding

How Authentic Is Your Employee Value Proposition (EVP)?

EVP_marketing_Image

Marketing has become an integral part of talent strategy. The use of messages and branding to foster engagement, attract candidates and retain employees have resulted in some organizations thoughtfully and others inadvertently, developing Employee Value Propositions (EVP’s). EVP’s are messages that articulate what an employee can expect when they work for the company. The promises. Most of the messages, in one way or another, tend to emphasize employee development and career progression (like the image above). Branding supplements the message by offering  visual images of what an employee can experience when they’re in the organization.

The ability to deliver against EVP’s can have a tangible impact on both talent sourcing and retention. Talent functions must realize the authenticity of an EVP will be compared to real employee experiences through social media channels. Research has shown there is a direct correlation between employee reviews on social media and job application follow through. In a recent US study of more than 4,600 job seekers; almost 50% of them used social sites like Glassdoor to research the company as part of their job search strategy1. Employee reviews have greater influence on which companies candidates will choose that more closely aligns with their values. In the example below the EVP advertised career progression, but the employee review exposed this as a misrepresentation. Candidates who value career advancement may choose not to apply to that company based on the review.

bad_review_evp

EVP is important to retain your current talent bench. Consider the following true story and how it reflects on the genuineness of the EVP.

bad_meetingA friend of mine choose to work at a company that articulated messages of career progression and development in the job description, website, branding and interview processes. As an employee, she worked hard to build great relationships and develop her skill set. Messages about commitment to career development and progression were continuously communicated in town halls, intranet sites, emails and corporate communications. After a few years she felt ready to move to the next level within her career tract. With consistently great performance reviews, she anticipated an easy conversation with her Manager on formulating a plan. She raised the subject about career advancement. Her boss listened to her and after a brief pause said; “You’ll need some of these first (pointing to her grey hair) if you want to move up.” In one short sentence the conversation had ended. The employee had taken her Manager’s comments as a clear message that seniority was equal to age. She knew she would not be advancing anytime soon.

Completely disengaged, within three months she resigned and went to a direct competitor.

Of course not every employee is pegged for progression. However, this story is reflective of a top performer who believed the company was committed to advancement, irrespective of age. The revelation that the EVP was false (from her perspective) resulted in her becoming disconnected, disengaged and demotivated. No surprise, she does not endorse this company as a great place to work to her network or family. This is a tangible example that the smaller the gap between your EVP promise and delivery; the higher your retention rate can be.

Now that we’ve seen authenticity matters, what can your organization do to create a genuine EVP’s?

  • Solicit feedback/crowdsource regularly to understand what works and what can be improved – Don’t rely on annual engagement surveys to assess how people feel. Solicit genuine feedback regularly through different mediums. Highlight what is working and document what could be improved.

feedback

  •  Action feedback to address gaps – I can’t stress this enough. Feedback is abundant on ways to improve. Yet so often nothing is done to actually address it. Demonstrate you are listening to your employees by actioning feedback. If you don’t it will be seen as disingenuous.
  • Update your EVP with endorsed content Your EVP is only genuine if your employees endorse it. Update it with validated content so it is authentic.
  • Revisit your EVP every 3-5 years to align it to your strategy – The workforce is changing. Your strategy changes. Your EVP should be reflective of your strategy.
  •  Use employees to promote genuine EVP messages through social media channels – Many companies are afraid of employee reviews on social media sites. They tend to want to “shut it down” or ignore it, hoping it will go away. Instead embrace social media sites and build it into your strategy. Provide alternative, genuine experiences on sites like Glassdoor and Indeed to help job seekers make an informed decision about your company.

happy-employeeThere are lots of opportunities to build genuine EVP’s. I hope these few ideas will help you to start thinking about ways to develop authentic messages!

I would love to hear from you. Feel free to contact me twitter@annzalie.barrett or pca_icon_linkedin_111w_116hLinkedIn.

 

[1] http://recruitingdaily.com/glassdoor-reviews/

Are You Using Data to Drive Your HR Strategy?

2014 is shaping up to be a year that will disrupt the way traditional HR functions operate. As technology, social media and data continue to become interwoven into the fabric of the workplace, HR must start to think and act like business functions by using data and insights to drive their strategy.

Business accountingNot that long ago, thought leaders called upon companies to treat HR as a strategic partner alongside the CEO, CFO, CIO, etc. to bring insights to human capital within the organization. HR, like business functions will need to rely on data, trending and analysis to assess and shape new initiatives.  Over the last few years, business functions (marketing, sales, legal, communications, products, operations, compliance; just to name a few) have expanded their data sources to include social media insights, internet analytics, search and traffic patterns. That coupled with “listening” to what people are saying about the company on social platforms provides key information on developing and/or tweaking strategies. This data is also extremely useful for HR to gage satisfaction, employee insights and dissatisfaction.

You may wonder how HR can use data for strategy when most of the data is based on operational transactions. To that I say, follow the lead of the business. HR can use a combination of operational, internet and social media metrics to analyze recruitment volume, sourcing effectiveness, candidate experience, retention and brand impact.

Here are a few ideas on how you can put data to work to help build your strategy:

1.      Recruitment (Talent Sourcing)- Building your workforce  is critical to achieving the organizations’ goals

a. Measures:  Source of Application, Source of Hire, Cost of Sourcing Channels

 Data Source: RMS/ATS

Strategy:  What channels have proven to be most effective for hires? Are there any shifts or trends that are emerging quarter over quarter or year over year? Invest your sourcing dollars wisely. Analyze data over time so you can see what sources are yielding and providing good ROI.  Your data will guide you to make sound, informed decisions.

 Cost per paid channel

 b. Measure:  Recruiter capacity

 Data Source: RMS/ATS

Strategy:  Do you have enough people to execute the work?  Analyze recruiter capacity against volume and complexity. Be prepared to dig deeper to speak to efficiency of work. Recruiter capacity impacts both service levels and the quality of output they can provide in a realistic time frame.

2.       Talent Sourcing Interactions- impacts brand and consumer opinions about the organization

a. Measure: Candidate experience

Data Sources: Glassdoor, Indeed, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Strategy: As social recruitment becomes more dominant, candidate experience is playing a more critical role impacting attraction. Like it or not candidates’ feedback about their employers are becoming more prevalent and visible online, whether the employer has a social media presence or not. It’s important to understand and assess chatter as more candidates rely on authentic feedback to make employment and product decisions about the organization. Organizations that embrace feedback and make improvements not only impact talent sourcing, but may also impact bottom line sales.

 6-british-entertainment-retailer-hmv-lost-complete-control-of-its-social-media-team-when-rogue-members-used-the-account-to-childishly-live-tweet-a-massive-firing-at-the-company

b. Measure: Manager experience, Recruiter Performance

 Data Source: Survey

 Strategy: How do businesses know if their products or services add value? Feedback about the service and its value is critical to fostering good working relations to achieve the organizations goals.  Use manager feedback to fine tune your service offering. Identify areas for improvement and acknowledge and reward great service.

 

3.       Talent Management – retention is critical to building and sustaining human capital in the organization

a. Measure: Retention

Data Sources: ERP, Performance Tools, Exit Interviews, LinkedIn

Strategy:  Why are employees leaving your organization? Where are they going?  Are certain departments or job functions prone to lower retention than others? Analyzing data will provide insight on which companies are attracting your talent and what jobs they are moving into. Social media has made it easy to get that information. Channels like LinkedIn can run talent analytics on employee changes (coming and going) to help you understand your competition.

 talent flows

b.      Measure: Employee experience

Data Sources: Glassdoor, Indeed, Facebook, Twitter, etc; Engagement Survey, Internal Crowdsourcing

Strategy: The ability to solicit feedback from employees has never been easier for HR Functions. With internal and external social media and collaboration tools available it’s quick and simple to get a sense of what’s working and what isn’t. Canned annual engagement surveys may feel like a corporate exercise rather than an employee centric forum to voice opinions or ideas.  Happy and engaged employees are more likely to stay and move within your organization than those who feel they have no voice.


I hope these few examples get you excited about the possibilities that are are at your fingertips.  Be cognizant that your metrics should be meaningful and actionable. Use your data to drive strategy, not file in your metrics folder!

I would love to hear about some metrics your company has used to help drive your strategy. Comment on my post or send me a tweet @annzaliebarrett

Has Your Company Embraced Crowdsourcing to Improve Your Employee Value Proposition?

Crowdsourcing is one of the hottest conversation topics on the web. I predict it will be the most “buzzed word” of 2013. Companies are starting to pay attention to crowdsourcing as viable, cost effective ways to develop new product lines, new technologies, solve problems and improve service. Crowdsourcing is also important to HR as it can provide a wealth of knowledge in understanding employee experiences with a company’s employee

crowdsourcing

value proposition (EVP) and employment brand.

So, what exactly is crowdsourcing? The term crowdsourcing is a mix of the word “crowd” and “sourcing” first coined by Jeff Howe in a 2008 Wired magazine article “The Rise of Crowdsourcing”[1]. In essence it’s an online database where people can contribute content (written, video, pictures) by posting it in a public forum which can be viewed and shared by others. Availability on the internet makes it easier to search and find information. Integration with social media sites such as Facebook means reviews can be cross-shared to friends. Apps let you search and review on the go through mobile platforms.

To demonstrate the power and value of crowdsourcing to the business and HR, I thought I would do a cross comparison from two strategic crowdsourcing sites; TripAdvisor and Glassdoor.

tripadvisor_logo

 

I am an avid and loyal TripAdvisor member. Over the years I have become dependent on TripAdvisor to help me make informed decisions on what hotels to stay at when I travel. I find the reviews invaluable and will not make a decision without consulting TripAdvisor first. I also pay it forward by writing my own reviews, thus sharing my experience with others.

glassdoor_logo_250I was first introduced to Glassdoor through Facebook. I got a few invitations from friends in my network requesting I join.  At first glace I didn’t understand its value. However once I saw there were anonymous reviews providing real insight into the culture, work, management and environment of an organization, i was hooked.

Sites like TripAdvisor and Glassdoor are powerful because of their reach. As the stats below reveal, the traffic, membership and visibility on these sites is enormous  More importantly…they are still growing.

  TripAdvisor (Business) Glassdoor (HR)
Reach
  • World’s largest travel site[2]
  • 50M visitors per month
  • 20M business visitors per month
  • 1.5 Reviews posted every second
  • 21M registered users[3]
  • 260K companies globally
  • 5 company reviews
  • A new member joins every 7 seconds
glassdoor_reviewEvery company has a vested interest in promoting how great they are. They want to you buy their product and/or attract top talent. Crowdsourced reviews are powerful because they are authentic. They are reflective of genuine experiences from a variety of people who have interacted with the company.

90% of consumers trust peer recommendations compared to only 14% from advertisements[4]. This has put pressure on companies to become more authentic in their brand promise and employment value proposition.

  TripAdvisor (Business) Glassdoor (HR)
Authentic
  • Reviewers have actually stayed at the hotel.
  • They have no vested interest in portraying the hotel as good or bad.

 

  • Reviewers are either current employees or former employees.
  • Reviewers write reviews based on their employment experience.
  • Anonymity allows for more genuine feedback without fear of reprisal.
tripadvisor_travllerphotosCrowdsourced reviews are powerful because they are transparent about the brand promise. They help to answer the question, Is the company/employer genuinely delivering what the promise?
  TripAdvisor (Business) Glassdoor (HR)
Transparent
  • Pictures and videos of hotel rooms, bathrooms, restaurants, etc. from reviewers provide real examples of what is delivered versus what is being advertised.
  • Potential travellers have more realistic expectations about the product they will receive.

 

  • Viewers have more realistic expectations about day to day operations, work environment and management styles.
  • Employees rate the employee value proposition (career progression, growth, development, compensation, benefits, etc.) against what they experienced. This helps set expectations for future prospects.
tripadvisor_reviewsIt’s my opinion that companies should be grateful for crowdsourcing through sites like TripAdvisor and Glassdoor. Think about it. Customers and employees at no cost; are providing companies with feedback on what they’re doing well and what they can improve on.

Actionable Feedback. It’s a goldmine of rich data.

  TripAdvisor (Business) Glassdoor (HR)
Actionable Feedback
  • Reviewers provide suggestions for improve.
  • Reviewers provide feedback on what’s working.

Companies that are focused on continuous improvements can create action plans to fix shortcoming.

Positive feedback can be woven into marketing and advertising to highlight positive attributes, making the brand promise more credible.

  • Reviewers provide suggestions to Management on areas they can improve.
  • Reviewers provide feedback on things that are working well.

Employers can cross reference engagement results with reviews. Retention strategies can be created based on feedback.

Positive feedback can be woven into employment branding and the employee value proposition messaging, making them more credible.

 

If you reviewed two hotels at the same price point and one had predominantly negative reviews and the other had predominantly positive reviews; which one would you choose? Crowdsourced reviews are powerful because they influence people’s opinion and ultimately impact their decision. That has a bottom line impact.

 

  TripAdvisor (Business) Glassdoor (HR)
Reviews Impact Decisions
  • Positive reviews may yield more sales.
  • Negative reviews may result in a loss of a sale opportunity.
  • Companies can assess referral ratings based on reviews.
  •  Positive reviews may attract better talent to your organization.
  • Negative reviews may turn off top talent.
  • Employers can assess referral ratings based on reviews.
reviewsCompanies cannot ignore crowdsourcing’s impact on the bottom line any longer. Smart companies will acknowledge suggestions and make improvements to demonstrate they are listening. This willingness to change also builds credibility as reviews validate changes.

HR Departments should be conscious that employee opinions not only have a direct impact on talent sourcing strategies, but may also carry over to net promoter scores (NPS), product sales and customer retention. Dissatisfied employees may not buy or recommend company products to a friend. That impacts the bottom line.

 

 

 

 

 

By Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crowdsourcing

[2] http://www.slideshare.net/eTourismAfrica/trip-advisor-2012

The Evolution of Human Capital Metrics

Last week I was privileged enough to moderate a roundtable of HR professionals at the first Indeed.com international conference. Our topic of conversation centered on big data, HR Metrics and ROI. The participants represented a variety of industries including insurance, banking, retail, IT and professional services.

indeed full logoThe group talked about how talent strategy and recruitment has been shifting over the last couple of years due to technology innovation, mobile, social media and Millenials entering the workforce. With so much activity happening electronically the amount of data available to be captured, deciphered and analyzed can be astounding, not to mention overwhelming. Some of the participants said they had a hard time figuring out where to start. As the roundtable continued we also talked about the shift from relying on RMS data to using data warehouses and/or HRMS’ which integrate data from a variety of different sources. The focus on using big data to help articulate ROI in the form of human capital metrics was still an area all our companies continue to work through. As I reflect on our conversations I realized that human capital metrics also needs to evolve to include new skills such as engagement and collaboration to reflect the modern workforce.

Let’s start with collaboration. Not a new skill, but usually used to assess project management and ITbanner-about related roles. Newer generations such as Millennials rely on collaboration and crowd sourcing techniques to complete work and build relationships. As reliance on virtual interaction and engagement play a greater role in attraction and retention, collaboration is fast becoming an essential skill for all jobs across organizations, especially leadership and management roles. Let’s look at two human capital metrics that can evolve to give credit to this skill.

  • Quality of hire– measures the calibre of external new talent determined by early performance indicators with the organization.  Collaboration is gaining more industry acceptance as criteria for performance. In a recent blog post the CEB updated their definition of quality of hire to incorporate collaboration. The new definition now reads; a new hire’s current and likely future effectiveness at completing his or her individual tasks, and contributing to others’ performance and using others’ contributions to improve his or her own performance[1]. The updated definition pays homage to collaboration as an important contributor to both measuring-employee-performaindividual and organizational performance.
  • Ready Now Candidates– Measures the number of potential successors that can be developed for managerial and leadership positions[2].  With an almost even distribution of Baby Boomers, Gen X’ers and Millennials in the workforce, engagement and collaboration are two important skills that people managers need to bring to the table in the modern workplace. Organizations should build in measures to gage how effective Managers are at collaborating below, across and above their positions. This can be done as part of an employee, manager and peer review. Managers with higher rating on collaboration can not only manoeuver within the organization, but may have a higher effectiveness in leading and managing teams.

 Engagement is a current measure in the human capital vernacular. Most organizations typically send out their engagement survey once a year to gauge how connected employees are. The outcome should be to develop an action plan to address areas where engagement is low. Through blogs, social networking channels and crowd sourcing websites (e.g. Indeed, LinkedIn groups, Glassdoor, etc.) digital dialogue, or what I call engagement; is also becoming a more relevant indicator of employee retention, performance and the employee value proposition.  

 Consider that from a talent sourcing perspective, more candidates want to have a relationship with a potential employer before they make a decision on whether that employer is a good fit for them. I equate it to dating; you have to go on a few dates before you know if you’re ready to make a commitment. Let’s take a look at how two human capital metrics can evolve to include social engagement.

  • Employee Engagement Index– Measures employees’ engagement in their work. Turnover may occur if employees feel disconnected between the organization’s employment offer and their own needs. Employees on-going interactions and communications will continue to shape their opinion of the organization influencing retention and commitment[3].  Organizations are challenged to find new and different ways to continuously engage with their employees to learn about, assess and identify areas for improvement. Social platform and collaboration tools for feedback and ideas with interaction can have a positive influence on the employee’s perception of the organization, impacting both commitment and retention. Organizations that only rely on annual surveys and/or do not engage in dialogue with employees risk employees, engagement_surveyusing other public avenues to share information and voice opinions about the company.
  • Employee Net Promoter Score– Measures the difference between the number of employees who are “promoters” (recommend organization as an employer) and number of employees who are “detractors” (would not recommend the organization as an employer)[4].   Through crowdsourcing and social networking there is a broader forum for both detractors and promoters to make their opinions viral. Through outlets like Glassdoor and ratemyemployer.com, anonymous reviews can provide rich insight into an organizations work culture to potential job seekers. Organizations should be using technology to regularly engage employees earlier in the employee life cycle to pulse check their perceptions.

Talent sourcing has typically been the topic of attention on how social media and technology are workforce planninginfluencing recruitment approaches. It has higher visibility because it’s a front line operational function that can measure results. Talent management also needs to embrace changes and recognize that newer generations bring different skills to the table. Using static measures that don’t incorporate or recognize these new skills can impact performance management, succession planning and retention. Employees will continue to assess their employment offer promise and evaluate how closely it aligns with reality.

By taking collaboration and engagement into consideration, how would it impact the way you view your talent pools?

By Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy


[1] CEB Corporate Leadership Council, “The Metrics Standard” (2013):

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

[4] ibid

Gen X: What are you doing to retain them?

There are lots of articles, blog posts and studies centred on the millennial generation. Born between 1980-2000; Millennials comprise about 29% of the current workforce, just shy of Gen X at 33% (1965-1979) and Baby Boomers representing 38% (1946- 1964)1 . This has resulted in a more even distribution of multiple generations in the workforce. 

behold-a-millennial-in-its-elementEven though Millennials have been labelled as needy and narcissistic their entry into the workforce has had a significant impact in helping change the way organizations communicate and approach work. First, their reliance on technology, in particular mobile, has pushed the envelope to adopt more mobile friendly solutions at work. Things like approving transactions (e.g. registering for an on-line course) on mobile devices, IM’ing (texting) and adding apps on phones are all current technology interactions Millennials are accustomed to.

Second, the daily use of social networking channels to facilitate engagement and collaboration. Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Tumblr, etc., are all various social platforms Millennials use to interact, convey information and build networks. Their ease of use and navigation on these channels has challenged their older counter parts to get with the times and use these as relevant ways to communicate and interact. Millennials assume employers use these tools as forums to engage with employees and customers, solicit feedback, build networks and work across functional teams.

Third, the erosion of traditional hierarchies. Unlike Baby Boomers who work within a disciplined hierarchical structure, Gen_xMillennials approach collaboration in a broad, encompassing manner.  They have no problem booking a meeting with a VP (bypassing the chain of command) to help them better understand issues or network. This approach is challenging traditional authoritative hierarchical structures in the workplace. For Gen Xers who have been molded to abide by current hierarchical protocol, they may feel liberated by this new approach and at the same time overshadowed by the Millennials ability to effect change so quickly. 

As much as Millennials have helped push the broad adoption of social media in the workplace, in my opinion I think Gen Xers were really the first generation to embrace technology and gamification on a mass scale. The consumption of technologies for personal use such as PC’s (personal computer), Sony Walkman’s, cell phones, Nintendo game consoles, CD players, etc. were all widely adopted and embraced by Gen X.  The development and availability of different forms of content such as videos’ and the internet laid the foundation for eCommerce and digital marketing. 

In the current landscape Gen Xers are now sandwiched between soon to be retiring Baby Boomers and the masses of Millennials continuing to enSandwich-Generationter the workforce.2  Gen Xers have been in the workplace for almost 20 years, accumulating a variety of experiences and building their skill set. For them retention is centered on flexibility, career and skill development and of course career progression.  They are focused on carving out a career and will work through a variety of different jobs to build skills to keep their career moving forward. The acquisition of new skills and experiences can be viewed as a form of “career security” where skills and experiences are portable from one job to another3. Gen Xers are described as a highly motivated and tenacious generation. Their general attitude is if we don’t like it, we’re out of here.

It is estimated by the year 2020 approximately 33 million jobs will open up in the US as Baby Boomers start to retire4 . In Canada that number is career-progressionapproximately 9.8 million5.  Organizations need to develop a holistic human capital plan to mitigate the risk of losing Gen Xers who may not feel like they have opportunities to progress or move in their careers.  Baby Boomers in positions of management will also need to adjust their approach to managing across generations to retain talent. Both Millennials and Gen Xers who find themselves working in a rigid hierarchical structure may seek out other environments that are more collaborative and empowering.  Here are few things organizations need to consider in human capital planning to retain Gen Xers:

      1. Don’t favour Millennials at the expense of Gen Xers– Your Gen Xers have 20+ years of experience under their belt. They have worked through different jobs to amass skills and gain experience. Consider what Gen Xers bring to the table. Forward thinking, technically savvy people who embrace new ideas coupled with solid experience will yield your company good leaders who can think strategically.
      2. Have serious conversations about career progression – I’ve had a number of friends leave organizations due to lack of career advancement opportunities.  Discussions about progression are important to Gen Xers at this stage of their career. They’ve put in the time and want to see there is some pay off for their hard work. Gen Xers expect to start having serious conversations about their next position and how management will help them get there. If they don’t feel there is a genuine commitment they’ll look for an employer who values them.
      3. Be inclusionary– Does your organization create an environment where your Gen Xers and Millennials are sitting at the table to provide input and strategic insight? Gen Xers want to feel they are valued in the organization and want be included in discussions where they can contribute their insights and expertise. Millennials want an opportunity to learn from their counterparts in a collaborative way. If your organization deems Baby Boomers as the only qualified group to be involved in strategic planning and decision making you will not only find yourself at a competitive disadvantage, but quickly find some of your talent (Gen Xers and Millennials) going to other companies who value their insight and observations.

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      Gen X’ers are valuable assets to your organization. Don’t take them for granted!

      By Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy

      1. [http://brighterlife.ca/2012/07/19/bridging-the-gap-in-multi-generational-teams/]
      2. [http://www.destinationcrm.com/Articles/Editorial/Magazine-Features/Gen-X–Stuck-in-the-Middle-79865.aspx]
      3. [http://www.examiner.com/article/keys-to-the-retention-of-generation-x]
      4. [http://ebn.benefitnews.com/news/hispanic-jobs-baby-boomers-health-2721781-1.html]
      5. [http://beyondrewards.ca/Articles/Art10-05.html]

How Does Big Data Impact You?

Big data has become a big topic in the industry. It’s transforming business strategies by providing companies with key information in the areas of talent, social media, mobile, brand, engagement, products, consumer preferences, etc. So what exactly is big data and how does it impact you?

big_data2Wikipedia defines big data as a collection of sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications1. Basically, as more people start to use technology to facilitate transactions more digital data is being collected and stored. At its core, mobile devices, the internet and social media capture multiple terabytes of information. Consider by 2015, the world’s mobile worker population will reach 1.3 billion people2. That’s one out of every six people on the planet will use a mobile device to conduct work. With all of this volume traditional data warehouses can no longer store all of the data being collected. eCommerce companies such as AdKu have created a niche market, offering their services to collect data analyse it, correlate it and highlight both positive and negative trends. This provides a goldmine of rich data. Historical data can be analyzed and used to forecast potential trends and consumer preferences which can be built into business strategic plans.

You are also impacted by big data. Accessing information via technology leaves a digital footprint of demographics, preferences, number of visits, number of shares, etc; which shapes the way products and services are being developed, marketed and delivered to you.

Here are three examples of how big data impacts you:

  • Tailored Digital MarketingYou may notice on your Facebook news feeds you are now presented suggested_postwith “suggested posts” better known as ads.  These posts are not random, but based on big data analysis that serves up targeted, relevant suggestions based on historical trends such as pages you’ve visited, pages you like, search results, etc. Almost all social platforms have an analytics component build into them. Whether you’re on Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and of course Google, companies can use this data to better to understand who their audience is and what content is resonating with them. This subtle, yet effective marketing technique has transformed the way businesses reach potential customers. By looking at historical data and analyzing trends, companies can predict products you may be interested in. Instead of casting a wide net, big data provides the opportunity to cast a smaller, highly relevant net. The end result is higher sales.
  • Volume Discounts– The concept of discounted prices for consumer items on-line is not new. If you’ve ever used hotels.com or hotwire.com to book a hotel, you will know these companies buy rooms strategyin bulk and allow consumers to purchase them at discounted rates. This model has now evolved where groups of consumers can buy a variety of discounted products on online through digital coupons, or Groupons. The consumer will only get the deal if a number of other people also buy the coupon. To help reach the minimum, Groupon encourages sharing the deal with friends on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Digital coupons provide the opportunity to collect information and begin to analyze consumer supply and demand trends on a per month, week, day, and even hourly basis[3]. To understand these trends Groupon acquired Adku, an eCommerce company specializing in big data. Analysis on this data means more relevant deals are served up to consumers increasing user adoption and sales. As coupons are shared, more consumer data can be collected and analyzed.
  • Your Career-. Many companies are moving to more sophisticated human resources management systems (HRMS) as a one stop shop to assess talent within the organization. Newer systems are geared to “manage” talent, shifting away from pure transaction processing.open big data Companies can collect and store data pertaining to work experiences, projects, goals, deliverables, performance ratings, work history, job levels, age, gender, accreditations, etc. Many systems also integrate social media accounts such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Add to that other system integrations such as applicant tracking systems, payroll systems, background checks, on boarding, etc; and the amount of data that can be analyzed collectively is exponential. This big data provides a wealth of information to companies seeking to understand talent pools, succession planning, retention, etc. at macro and micro levels. Companies can also use data to better understand how overarching enterprise objectives are being imbedded and delivered down the chain. This provides a holistic view of an employee over time and may serve to predict which individuals are top talent.

So your contribution and interaction with big data is inevitable. Next time you see a tailored ad remember big data predicted it!

By Ann Barrett, Director, eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy

[1] Wikipedia.com
[2] IDC, Worldwide Mobile Worker Population 2011-2015 Forecast, Doc#232073, Dec 2011
[3] http://steinvox.com/blog/groupon-big-data-play-winning-startups-focus/#ixzz2VpVJ9lwl