Campaign/FTC disclosure: This is a sponsored blog post. I will or have received compensation for this post. I only work with companies I feel have great products, services, and offerings. In accordance with my blog disclosure statement, I will only work with and showcase products, events and/or companies I believe my readers will benefit from. I am not formally employed by Trakstar. All thoughts and viewpoints are created and written by me. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Of the many dynamics or tasks that have to be executed between employee and employer, performance reviews are probably the most hated. Over the past few years, there have been extreme calls to get rid of the performance evaluation. For this argument, there are two camps. The first camp is comprised of those who never saw a purpose for a once-a-year process that is labor-intensive as well as challenging. The second camp is made up of people who see it as a necessary evil that perhaps needs some reinvention. There are viable arguments on both ends and yet they all miss one important factor, we are dealing with humans.
It amazes me how often we forget the human factor whether we are talking about a new HR Technology or the discipline of HR on the whole. We serve humans and they serve us. When we design and develop policies, procedures, processes or technology based on the day-to-day needs and realities of our employees we garner compliance, trust, and a willingness to be a part of the solution. People are not merely a cog in the wheel or a means to an end for your company. They have shared their talents with you in an effort to:
- Progress a specific career trajectory.
- Sustain them financially, so they can live and provide for themselves and their families.
- Test out the kind of work they are good at and also like to do.
Just for a moment, let us assume that everyone who you employ shows up with the intention to do their best daily. You expect productivity, engagement, and a genuine interest in the work being done at your company, but what is the emotional and physical ROI for those expressions? If I am diligently churning out quality work daily, I want to be able to connect the dots between my contributions and the effect they have on the employer’s mission and/or goals. Conversely, if I’m not performing to standards or am executing a task in a way that isn’t helpful or wanted, I would appreciate open dialogue about that concern rather than to find out a year later that I am being put on a performance improvement plan for an issue that could have been solved with direct communication.
Communication is a core challenge when we speak about everything from performance evaluations to succession planning. If I understand what is expected of me and there will be multiple checkpoints throughout the year for me to revise goals or have a discussion with my boss to discuss progress, there is absolutely nothing that could blind-side me during the performance process. Continuous communication makes it so that everyone is on the same page about goals, execution, and outcomes alleviating serendipitous and uneasy performance conversations later in the year. If I am made aware that I am being slated as a top performer for future leadership opportunities, I may reconsider looking elsewhere for the opportunities I seek. People can’t plan their lives let alone their careers when leaders neglect to communicate on a regular basis. Increasingly, your employees want their power back. By power I mean the ability to have a say about what they accomplished through their efforts, to be heard and acknowledged as someone who has contributed either individually or as part of the team to the success of your company.
How can you start to empower your employees from a performance perspective?
Here are a few tips:
- Be upfront about how success will be measured. As mentioned before, no one deserves to be blindsided because you failed to communicate what is expected.
- Where possible, give your employees the ability to craft their own goals in collaboration with you. If I am setting my goals, I will be a lot more inclined to rise to the challenge than if goals are forced upon me.
- Start to review performance as a continuous cycle of learning and development for both you and your employee. No one is perfect. In fact, leaders aren’t perfect. We need to start assuming that people want to do the right thing as opposed to the wrong thing. Use continuous feedback and performance discussions to help people improve rather than to penalize them.
Pardon my next statement, but it needs to be said. There is no excuse to struggle through performance evaluations when various approaches to managing it are available such as technology. I recently had the opportunity to give a new performance management solution called Trakstar a try. What I loved about the solution was the ability to set clear and individual goals whether to assess the overall performance of an employee or to have a basis for evaluating project-based contributions that too often fly under-the-radar from a recognition standpoint. The entire solution encourages companies to get out of the mode of the once per year review and instead set up several touchpoints throughout the cycle so that no employee is ever left behind or lost in the abyss of the workforce. The most tedious aspect of performance is keeping up with the documentation of it. Trakstar makes this a completely online process and provides for user-friendly scheduling of performance discussions, check-ins, and authentic dialogue around productivity and performance.
Your employees have a purpose in mind and a voice they wish they could express more at work. Implementing technology in lieu of genuine face-to-face dialogue is a step in the right direction of ensuring that you are in regular dialogue with your people even as you get caught up in the day-to-day.
To get some insight on how you can improve your own performance and feedback process, sign up for Trakstar’s live demo to see it in action and assess whether it is right for your organization.
Image courtesy of Flickr.
A little over a month ago, I traveled to Queens to go pick up my 10th wedding anniversary cake from a family friend. To give you some context, I live in Long Island, NY (the forgotten borough, unless you talk The Hamptons) so anytime I want food or goods related to my West-Indian culture (and this cake was a West-Indian cake) I go to Queens or Brooklyn usually. Since I am approximately an hour and 15 minutes from Queens I try to maximize my trips by ensuring I get all the West-Indian goodies I want before returning home. This day, I did just that and went to my favorite Singh’s Roti Shop in Ozone Park to get my roti, doubles, pholourie and the like. The line in Singh’s on a Saturday is usually long but is made more pleasant by the people watching, aromatic scents and beautiful Soca and Calypso music playing while you wait.
I found something more at Singh’s this day and it involved a woman standing behind me on line. I remember turning and smiling at her and she asked me: “If the line here is always this long?” I replied: “Yes, always!” She then went on to ask me if I was a Trinidadian and I said: “Yes, with a mix of Guyanese too”. She proceeded to tell me that she was so hungry as she has been working as a live-in aide to an elderly woman in Upstate New York and the family does not so much as grant her but 15 minutes to go and procure food for herself.
She went on to share with me the deplorable way in which the family treated her patient. She also shared that she told them she had some affairs to take care of so she got two days off. She took two trains and a bus by memory to get to Singh’s as it was the only place she remembered having food that would nourish her and make her feel a little like she was back in Trinidad.
I asked her why she stays if she doesn’t like the way she is being treated? She mentioned that she was working to put her kids through school. On the brighter side, she was going on an interview for a new patient the next day with a family she felt more aligned with. I told her I would pray for her that her interview went well.
I was then called up to place my order, so I said a quick goodbye. As I waited for them to package my order, I watched her with sadness thinking she was carrying the weight of her space in the world on her shoulders (and it showed). She reminded me of any number of my aunts. As I paid for my food, I went over to her and told her she is a strong woman and I wished her well with a parting hug.
As much as our encounter uplifted me –it also made me angry that she was being used and abused for cheap labor by an American family because they can and more importantly, because her labor and toil are convenient for their lifestyles.
In a time where the discussion of undocumented immigrants is so contentious, it is unfathomable to me that we have such hypocrisy at play where this issue is concerned. Essentially, our position is we don’t want you illegal and undocumented people here; except for in instances where you present a cheaper option that makes our lives simpler. I wonder if it has ever occurred to the lower half of the economic scale that their prized 1% white male and women counterparts are to blame for the undocumented numbers in the U.S.? I am here to shed some light.
Your prized 1 percenters are the ones who actively seek out women like this woman I spoke with to be wet nurses, doulas, companions and live-in nannies at a much lower margin than what any U.S.-based nanny would charge. I know because some of my own family members have had flights, housing, cell phones, wages and expenses paid for them to come here from abroad and do this work.
To further back what I already know to be true, I dug up some statistics from Pew Research Center. Here are some things you should know about undocumented immigrants and their impact on our workforce:
- In 2015, there were 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. This number has been mostly unchanged given estimates made for 2009 – 2016 since there was a smaller sample size and a large margin of error in the numbers. According to this same study, unauthorized immigrants peaked in 2007 at 12.2 million a whopping 4% of the U.S. population. So much for undocumented immigrants taking over the U.S. and all of the “good” jobs.
- Surprise…surprise! Mexicans are not among the majority of undocumented immigrants. Statistics from the same Pew Research Center study, suggest that from 2009 – 2016, the bulk of undocumented immigrants are coming from Asia and Central America countries outside of Mexico. I guess an Asian influx isn’t a problem, but let us also not forget their particular knowledge, skills, and abilities also facilitate our culture of convenience.
- The U.S. Civilian Workforce includes 8 million undocumented immigrants accounting for 5% of those who were either working, unemployed or looking for work. How can undocumented immigrants be so unwanted and at the same time so assimilated into our workforce? More convenience and hypocrisy.
There are many moving parts to this discussion. My annoyance with it all is that our economy, businesses, and lives run on immigration. Yet, we dehumanize these people, throw around propaganda about banishing them and still when it suits us we hire them to do the work that no one else is willing to do. As HR professionals, we have to be just as willing to talk about how we improve societal conditions as we are to talk about the latest best practices to improve company culture. We also have to recognize that while our obligations are to the organizations we serve, we are on some level tied back to the overall perverted web of labor that exists here in the U.S.
We must seek the truth. Protect the truth and recognize when our ideals and practices are dissonant. I hope this helps.
To read the full article with statistics from The Pew Research Center study click here.
Have you ever called a promising candidate for a follow-up interview only to find out they just took up a job at a competing firm? How often does this happen? If it’s more than once, it’s already one too many! If you are missing out on top talent only because the follow-up rounds took longer to plan, it’s high time you updated your process. But you probably know that already. What usually happens is HR managers like yourself often find themselves in a tough spot because they simply don’t know where to start! Considering the multi faceted nature of the process, you can’t always rightly identify the cause of such delays but you can tweak your process wherever possible and avoid any unforeseen delays! Find out how:
Automation, Automation, Automation
It’s time to stop making dedicated drives for all your HR data and upgrade to the latest technology. Sure spreadsheets and emails work when there aren’t any urgent/immediate hiring needs but that won’t always be the case, since this function is more of an ongoing activity. The HR department receives resumes all round the year and keeping track of them can become quite a daunting task. So, instead ditch those spreadsheets and move to an automated software that can intuitively track and manage all applicant data.
The Source Code
Just kidding, no code here, but there is just one simple rule, dig deep enough to find out which source drives the best candidate volume. It is very important for the modern recruiter to understand where and how his company receives the best traction. Another aspect to this is that you not only track which medium you get the most visibility on but also the best quality. Identifying the right platform for your recruitment needs automatically streamlines your process by cutting out the noise.
First Impressions are a Two-way Street
Like you would expect your applicant to be on top of their game while you interview them, they have similar expectations while applying for jobs. And with the digital age that has set in. Your company’s website is the mark of credibility in your applicant’s eyes. A well-updated, detailed website will always draw more traction as it adds to the company’s overall image.
Embrace the Change
While all things vintage and classic have their own charm, sometimes it is necessary to make the shift with changing times. There are a plethora of applicant tracking systems, recruitment tools and hiring software available in the market which significantly add time to your hiring process. A good applicant tracking system will help in taking care of minute details like automatically souring and screening candidate data, maintaining and updating talent pools, as well as sending out follow-up emails.
Research and Development
Just like recruitment, research and development is an ongoing process. Taking time out to constantly analyze your recruitment processes is crucial to hiring success. Apart from identifying bottlenecks in your process, you also need to keep tabs on current strategies and technologies to be able to get the desired results. Do your reading, experiment with those free trials and then settle on the best method for your organization.
So, there you have it, recruitment doesn’t have to be as cumbersome as it used to be years ago. All you have to do is find out what works best for your company, find software and tools to automate functions that don’t need your immediate attention, giving you time to focus on other time pressing activities.
Kelly Barcelos is a progressive digital marketing manager specializing in HR and is responsible for leading Jobsoid’s content and social media team. When Kelly is not building campaigns, she is busy creating content and preparing PR topics. She started with Jobsoid as a social media strategist and eventually took over the entire digital marketing team with her innovative approach and technical expertise.
Image courtesy of Ultimate Software.
Campaign/FTC disclosure: This is a sponsored product review. I will receive compensation for this post. I only work with companies I feel have great products, services and offerings. In accordance with my blog disclosure statement, I will only work with and showcase products, events and/or companies I believe my readers will benefit from. I am not formally employed by Ultimate Software. All thoughts and viewpoints are created and written by me. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
In the HR industry, we spend a lot of time talking about the best ways to engage the people that work tirelessly for us. The thing that we often overlook in the engagement conversation is: “communication.” While that may seem broad, let’s explore a bit. How likely do you think your employees are to share their thoughts, ideas, and concerns at work? You may be thinking: “I have an open-door policy” or “we periodically send out employee surveys.” All of this is a great start, but I would argue that between your open-door policy, employee surveys, town halls, and overall company culture lays a tremendous gap between what you think you know and what your employees truly feel.
Why the gap?
Understanding employee voice requires that you understand the various inputs and ways in which employees communicate. Encouraging your employees to speak up is admirable, but not nearly enough. If asked, many employees will describe a sense of fear around offering up ideas, thoughts, and concerns, whether solicited or unsolicited. While this sentiment is often based on unfounded perceptions of the consequences of communicating freely, it is just as often rooted in experiences where feedback led to negative outcomes such as low performance ratings, indifferent behavior by management, isolation, and even termination as illustrated in an HBR article, “Can Your Employees Really Speak Freely.”
Case and point, employees are fearful of speaking up. In turn, that fear presents a challenge for organizations that are desperate to thwart turnover and other organizational maladies to better retain their workforce. According to a 2016 survey by Xerox, 53% of employers cite retention of top talent as an “organizational priority” for 2017. In order to retain your people, you need to have some insight into their ideas, intentions, and behaviors. The pathway to rounding-up that information isn’t exactly a simple science without some heavy lifting by technology. The reason for this is: Much of your intelligence around what motivates your employees is likely lying dormant as unstructured data fueled by performance evaluations, pulse surveys, exit interviews, internal communication tools, etc.
While all of this information is lying dormant, organizations are left vulnerable and in a state of inaction. Without visibility for situations and actions brewing under your nose, many organizations will continue to wonder why they can’t get ahead where employee engagement and retention is concerned.
Luckily for the HR industry, one of my favorite HR Technology companies, Ultimate Software, has gotten into the data game specifically to assist companies illuminating the true feelings and emotions behind employee responses.
Ultimate Software has a new solution called UltiPro Perception™. They were kind enough to allow me to ask them some questions about their solution and how it can help you. Here’s the scoop:
Help me understand how UltiPro Perception captures employee sentiment.
UltiPro Perception uses advanced Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning (ML) algorithms to analyze open-ended responses within employee surveys. The solution’s sophisticated technology interprets text-based feedback to uncover the feelings and emotions behind employees’ responses. Leaders and managers can then assess the overall sentiment for individual employees, teams, or the organization as a whole. The solution also looks for repeated keywords to identify more than 70 workplace themes or topics, and over 100 emotions beneath the surface of employee answers.
Why is UltiPro Perception better than any other tool out there using sentiment analysis?
UltiPro Perception is uniquely built to analyze unstructured data and uncover not only what employees are saying, but also how they feel, about things like work environment, culture, and leadership. UltiPro provides managers with easy-to-understand, actionable insights that will have a true impact on improving employee retention and engagement.
Another key differentiator is that UltiPro Perception is part of UltiPro’s comprehensive HCM suite. Organizations can easily collect feedback from the right groups of employees based on location, supervisor, tenure, and more—essentially any data element within UltiPro. Most competitive tools have no or limited HRIS/HCM integration and lack enterprise-level requirements such as configurability options and proper role-based security. Other employee survey solutions typically require costly, manual processes or they rely solely on quantitative analytics, and therefore can’t give organizations a true understanding of employee sentiment before it’s too late to take meaningful action.
How does UltiPro Perception arm managers and organizations in being able to manage the Talent Management life cycle better (i.e. Recruitment through Succession)?
UltiPro Perception offers built-in survey templates to gather feedback throughout the employee lifecycle—from candidate, to new hire, engagement, post-learning, exit, and more. Surveys can be configured to automatically be sent once a specific work event occurs, such as a promotion or performance review.
Key driver analysis provides real-time, actionable metrics to help guide managers towards the most effective next steps. Combining these results with UltiPro’s predictive analytics tools and Leadership Actions, managers have powerful resources to support, coach, and retain their employees.
Regarding data and reporting, how simple is UltiPro Perception for HR practitioners new to sentiment analysis?
With UltiPro Perception, data collection, management, analysis, and the delivery of insights are all automated, with both standard and configurable reports available. Report-quality insights are delivered in plain English—no training required. UltiPro Perception’s easy-to-read, interactive reports are delivered immediately upon closing surveys, including the analysis of free-text responses. Reports are distributed based on the employee directory and can be tailored to individual managers or areas of the organization.
What are the long-term and short-term wins new customers can expect using this tool?
Short term—Organizations can immediately get a sense of how their employees currently feel about their work environment, leadership, and more. UltiPro Perception can uncover the organization’s strengths and key areas for improvement.
Long term—Organizations can utilize UltiPro’s workforce intelligence solutions, including UltiPro Perception, to uncover people challenges, predict outcomes, and recommend actions to drive better business results. Additionally, leaders can use historical benchmarking to assess how engagement scores are changing over time, in order to identify trends or patterns and determine long-term strategies to improve workplace culture and make better business and people decisions.
When will UltiPro Perception be available?
UltiPro Perception is currently available for purchase.
What is the approximate cost of the product?
UltiPro solutions are priced on a per employee, per month basis and costs various depending on a variety of factors, including company size.
Is there training or train-the-trainer opportunities available for organizations that need more?
Ultimate’s activation team guides all new customers through setup and configuration and Ultimate’s experts will also guide customers through executing and analyzing their first survey. UltiPro Perception is simple to configure and use, but if customers would like additional assistance Ultimate’s Services team will provide additional support to ensure customers are getting the most out of UltiPro Perception’s powerful survey and analytics capabilities. Ultimate also offers free learning resources for all organizations and their employees, including on-demand online training, webcasts, and more. Through Ultimate’s unique “People First” approach to customer service, all Ultimate’s customers have instant access to customer service experts, including a dedicated account manager and phone and online support.
You may be asking how you give a voice to the voiceless utilizing technology like UltiPro Perception. Here’s how you begin:
- Audit your company culture to uncover both intended and unintended practices that may deter employees from openly sharing their feelings and thoughts.
- Continue to find ways to include employees and their input in all aspects of your company’s operations
- Ensure that there are simple and varied ways for your employees to connect and communicate with you.
- Utilize sentiment analysis and machine learning technologies like UltiPro Perception to help you properly synthesize the valuable feedback you collect from your employees on a regular basis.
- Make sure you are prepared to act upon the information you receive and make sure all levels of management do the same. It isn’t just about acquiring a solution like UltiPro Perception to help uncover this information. You actually have to be willing to make the necessary changes as needed to ensure your employees feel heard.
Organizations can no longer afford to ignore all of the data points available to them. Employees are communicating in a myriad of ways all the time. It’s time we start to listen to them.
Get a sneak peek of Perception via UltiPro’s product tour .
Also, Ultimate Software will be hosting a free webcast on April 25th for you to learn more about this product. To register, click here.
Image courtesy of Recruiterbox
Campaign/FTC disclosure: This is a sponsored product review. I will receive compensation for this post. I only work with companies I feel have great products, services and offerings. In accordance with my blog disclosure statement, I will only work with and showcase products, events and/or companies I believe my readers will benefit from. I am not formally employed by Recruiterbox. All thoughts and viewpoints are created and written by me. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
I have long discussed the perils of ill-implemented HR Technology. I have also discussed the necessity for HR Technology that can grow and bend with the whims of the business.
As someone who worked in Talent Acquisition for virtually her entire HR career, I know the pain points when it comes to Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) all too well. I have lived through everything from ridiculous error reports for minor input mistakes to larger-than-life SaaS solutions that consistently overpromised and under-delivered in the way of ease of use.
As both a former HR practitioner and now as a business owner/analyst assisting companies with making technology decisions for their businesses, I have often wondered why technology that has been designed to streamline the hiring process has instead made hiring more difficult for everyone involved.
Let me be fair…we have evolved.
In fairness, it probably wasn’t the intention of the founders of several of the applicant tracking systems we know to deliberately make recruiters’ and hiring managers’ jobs harder with their creation.
If we look at the ATS historically, there was a time when ERP systems were the best, new products on the market for tracking the steps of candidates and hires. ERP systems weren’t necessarily ideal, but they got the job done – albeit in an excruciatingly painful manner.
We evolved with Software-As-A-Service solutions – understanding that the nature of how business and work gets accomplished was changing to a more on-demand and flexible approach. This approach continues to be at the forefront of what is needed from the ATS whether you are an enterprise company or a small business.
The Workforce is changing.
The workforce is a mix of Millennials, Boomers, Gen X, Gen Z and even some Traditionalists. It is a mashup of full-time, part-time, freelancers, temporary, remote workers and per diem employees. With a mix of all of these demographics funneling into companies of all sizes, it is an absolute necessity that companies have an ATS that is dynamic enough to capture all of the information available to us, malleable enough to change workflows, users and processes on the fly, and easy enough to use – that even the least tech savvy employees in your organization will enjoy using it.
I had the pleasure of chatting with the one of the three co-founders of Recruiterbox, Raj Sheth. Recruiterbox is a 5 year-old, self-funded recruiting software company that doesn’t try to be anything more than what it is intended to be and that is a seamless, easy-to-use technology that makes hiring a productive activity.
During my demo with Raj, he summed up the reasoning for why Recruiterbox exists as follows: “Traditional HR software is cumbersome and built for process – not for productivity.” He went on to explain that so much of what we do takes place in email, yet there is no way to draw from this data source.
As a former recruiter, I can attest to how many resumes and discussions took place in my email. In return, I had the task of figuring out how to properly document those conversations in the ATS.
Raj and his team have gone to great lengths to see that productivity, communication, and user experience are the cornerstones to this software.
How do I know?
I put my super user hat on and spent the past week and a half utilizing their free trial to test the capabilities of this software.
Social Footprint Screen
Here are some features that really resonated with me:
- Truly configurable workflows. The first thing you do when creating a new opening in Recruiterbox is to design your workflow. They give you three delivered workflow stages that you can edit to suit your needs. I appreciated this feature, because different openings call for different steps towards the hire at times. With this workflow editing option, Recruiterbox is giving you, the organization the power back to make changes to your hiring process as needed. I did not need to log-in to a different portal to make my changes nor did I need extensive training to learn how to configure the workflow. Everything in Recruiterbox is extremely intuitive.
- No more post- job fair or compliance nightmares. When you sign-up for Recruiterbox you get a company-branded email that allows people to apply to your company with one email. When the candidate sends their resume to this email, it automatically loads their resume in the system. You as the recruiter or coordinator can assign the candidate as you see fit thereafter. If you don’t like this option, you can also batch upload resumes via zip file into the system. This is a nice feature if you like a paperless process like me.
- Capture the candidates you find on the web with one click. Recruiterbox has a Google Plug-in that allows you to pull in candidates into their “Prospecting” dashboard. You know those candidates that you happen upon during a Boolean or LinkedIn search? You can capture their name, email, phone number, referral source, and resume with this plug-in. Minimal parsing makes for 100% successful execution every time.
- Want to know where your candidates hang out on the web? Recruiterbox captures each candidate’s social footprint so you can see how they present themselves across all social platforms.
- Interview scheduling made easy with a dose of video. In Recruiterbox, you can easily schedule everything from a phone screening to a Skype Interview. You have the option of confirming your interviews or you can send prospective schedules to candidates for them to confirm their acceptance of the designated timeslot. Two clicks from within Recruiterbox allow you to launch Skype when you have installed the Skype plugin on your desktop.
Application form configuration screen
The list of positive attributes to this system is endless. As we speak they are working launching an improved and robust reporting and analytics module. As you well know, I have a penchant for companies who are relentless about improving their product through good data.
If you are a company of 1-1000 employees and in the market for a new ATS, Recruiterbox is worth your attention. You will find the pricing to be reasonable and the value immense.
For a free demo, click here to sign-up or watch their video demo.
Need more convincing? Read a case study from one of their clients, Beauty Brands here.
Bonus: Get a free copy of Co-Founder, Raj Sheth’s E-Book prePARE: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Hiring. Click here to download.