Technology Trends ~ Internet Use by Job Seekers Reduces Unemployment Time

December 6, 2011

Contradicting a 2004 study showing that using the Internet to look for work prolonged unemployment, a new study has found the better job boards, improved site design, and enhanced technology have dramatically improved the job seeker’s ability to identify positions, make application, and secure employment using the Internet. Also noted by the researchers was the percentage growth of unemployed individuals using the Internet—up from 25% in 1998/2000 to 74% in 2008/2009. In addition to the formal services, the Internet was cited as a valuable “networking” tool where the unemployed could communicate with family, friends and professional colleagues, thereby extending the reach of their searches. Enhancements to job site “user friendliness” were also cited as having an impact on their growing popularity.

University of Colorado-Denver news release:


Employee Engagement Planning on a Super Tight Budget

November 16, 2011

What if I told you that your company could double its profit margin through employee engagement?  Would that make employee engagement a priority?  What if your profit margin only improved by 20%?  Still a priority?  If employee engagement is not a priority today, then it should be.  Your corporate talent has more to do with driving profitability and competitive edge than anything else in your company.   Engaged employees are more productive, more enthusiastic, and more effective than just competent employees.

Employee engagement is not the same as employee motivation.   If you have a workforce of engaged employees then employee motivation takes care of itself.  You don’t need expensive rewards and programs to foster engaged employees.  For little or no expense you can create an employee engagement culture that will improve employee morale and employee relations.  What it will take is some planning.

Company leaders can invest 30 days and follow four simple steps to plan for effective employee engagement.    There are few principals to keep in mind, however, before you start employee engagement planning.  First, don’t confuse employee engagement with employee involvement.  Only when employee involvement is focused on the company mission and passion will you get engaged employees.  Second, employee engagement is not employee relations.  Employee relations are a barometer of employee engagement.

To plan for employee engagement on a super tight budget, follow these four steps over the next 30 days.

  1. Survey Employees – Find out why they come to work.  What is it they want to contribute to the customers they serve?  Why is this meaningful to them?  You have to understand this to know how to help your team become engaged employees.
  2. Brainstorm – Hold a meeting with company leaders and key contributors.  Present the results of your survey.   Look at gaps between what employees want and what they are getting.  Remember you are looking for gaps in the meaningfulness of the work, not the benefits you provide.  Next, have the group brainstorm low/no cost ways to bridge these gaps.
  3. Prioritize – Review the brainstorm ideas and prioritize the ideas that will have the most impact on employee engagement.  Develop metrics to gauge the impact of these ideas.
  4. Implement and Test – Implement the number one priority over the next 30 days.  Measure the impact against the metrics you developed.  If you don’t get the results you expected, fine tune and try again.  Then move to the next priority.

Of course it would be more effective to get outside help to facilitate this process if your budget permits.  By following these four steps, however, you will start to raise the level of employee engagement and your profit margin.

Richard Yadon consults and speaks about employee engagement and other talent management issues. 

You Can Do More than Just ‘Salute’ Our Veterans

November 11, 2011

US Navy Seals

Today we honor our military veterans.  We take this day to recognize the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who set aside years of their life to serve us.   For many the cost was much more than just a few years.  I am proud that our country sets aside a day to reflect on the service these men and women have given to protect this great country.

There is more, however, that can be done to recognize, support, and serve these veterans.  Many of us are in positions where we can provide life-changing and life-giving support.   Some veterans leave the service with new skills and experiences that are valuable to our business community.  Some veterans leave service with a new body, one that may be handicapped physically, but one that has the same spirit to contribute and add value to the country they love.  Maybe the most tangible way to support our veterans is to give them a job where they can continue to contribute and serve.

A fantastic organization exists that helps employers and veterans connect.  Hire Heroes USA is a non-profit organization created to offer transition assistance, job search assistance, and job placement services to those who have honorably served in the US military – and to their spouses – in order to reduce veteran unemployment.  They are partnered with the USO and the US Chamber of Commerce.  Employers can post jobs, search resumes, and offer assistance to veterans and their spouses.

If you want to do more to support our veterans, I urge you to join forces with Hire Heroes USA.  You can be a Veteran’s Day contributor throughout the year.

The Most Overlooked Fact About Employee Turnover Rates Revealed

October 26, 2011
Graph 2

What is employee turnover?  Conventional thought would tell you that the employee turnover ratio is hires compared to terminations over a period of time.  Certainly there are complex methods that tell you how to calculate turnover.  Companies spend a lot of money to find and understand staff retention rates.  A high attrition rate is expensive.  Staff retention has to be a priority for every organization.

I would suggest that the traditional methods that teach you how to calculate turnover are wrong!  Yes, they can tell you a mathematical ratio and, yes, that number is true.  But corporate leaders could be asking the wrong questions about their true retention rate.  Instead of asking “what are our employee turnover rates?” a better question is “What is employee retention?”  An employee doesn’t have to leave your company to stop working.  Recent surveys state that more than 50% of employees today have mentally or emotionally left their jobs.  To really understand your attrition rate you must factor this into how you calculate turnover.  A disengaged employee could cost a company more than a vacant seat.  To truly understand staff retention, employee engagement must be part of the equation.   Otherwise companies are fooling themselves into believing their employee turnover rates are simply a mathematical ratio.

The most overlooked fact about employee turnover is this; employee disengagement has to be part of employee turnover rates.  Find out who is in the wrong job (see my other posts about job analysis).  Add that number to your actual terminations.  Then you’ll truly understand your employee turnover ratio.


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Is Your Job Analysis Process on Auto-Pilot?

October 19, 2011

A funny thing happened on the way to school last week.  My son, a high school senior, was getting ready for an awards event.  Before leaving he asked me to tie his tie for him.  Putting a tie on is something I’ve done almost every morning for more than twenty years.  You think I could do it in my sleep by now.  But I couldn’t!   First I tried to do tie it standing in front of him while it was around his neck.  That was strange; I’d never done it before from that perspective.  Then I tried to tie one around my neck, over my own tie, while standing in front of his mirror.  For some reason that was even stranger.  It took me almost fifteen minutes before I could get it tied.  For years I put on my tie in the same room, at the same time, in the same mirror, the same way for so long.  Now I was out of my element, in a new environment, and I couldn’t do it.  The entire process was on auto-pilot and when something new came along the process broke down.

The same thing can happen if your job analysis process is on auto-pilot.  When a job evaluation has been done the same way for so long it becomes ineffective.  Companies that want to attract top talent must transcend the tradition of writing job descriptions.  Today’s talent will not come to your company when the human resources process for job evaluation is a cut and paste operation.  The HR job description from four years ago is not the same as a true performance based job analysis.

The process of job analysis consists of several steps (see my related post The Pros  & Cons of Job Analysis).   If you think your job analysis process is on auto-pilot, take a fresh approach.   Start with your HR job description.   This will have all of elements of what a person needs to have to do the job.  But the job analysis process goes well beyond writing job descriptions.   The next step is to understand what a person must do to be successful.  This can be different from the HR job description.  Would you rather have a person who has done the job successfully in the past or someone who has all the job description requirements?  Most Strategic Employers would take the former, even if person didn’t have all the requirements in the HR job description.

Take your job analysis process off of auto-pilot.  Begin the process of job analysis with what someone does to be successful, not what they need to have.

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What You Can Do About Recruitment Strategies In The Next 10 Minutes

October 12, 2011

If you were to audit your recruiting process would it consistently deliver top talent?

Finding top talent is not easy and it’s getting harder.  Just because the recession is lasting longer than originally predicted doesn’t mean your next superstar is waiting for your newspaper recruitment ad.  Recruiting strategies are as important today as they have ever been.  Recruiting right the first time is how to retain employees.   Today no business can afford to lose its top talent.

To find, and keep, top talent, business leaders must have an effective recruiting strategy.  In my recruitment process outsourcing business I find few companies with effective recruiting strategies.  Effective meaning a recruiting process that is tailored to their specific talent needs.  Every organization, large or small, has to adopt a recruiting strategy that will pull the best people into their organization.  This is not the old “post and pray” method of recruiting.

So what can you do about your recruitment strategy in the next ten minutes that will dramatically improve your results? It is not new recruitment software.  It is not the next bestseller about how to retain employees.   Very simple; quit trying to hire people and start attracting them!  A popular recruiting strategy is to cut and paste your job description into an online posting.  This might be effective if you want to generate a lot of resumes, but it has little to do with attracting top talent.   Top talent wants to know how a job will challenge them, what they will learn, who they will work with, and how they can contribute.

Look at your current job postings.  Would they really attract the best?  If not, take the next ten minutes and change your recruitment strategy.

The Number One Way to Fail at Motivating Employees

October 6, 2011

Are you still Fishing for employee motivation?   This was a popular employee motivation strategy several years ago.  There are lots of books on that will teach you about how to motivate employees.  Every business wants good employee relations and a happy, productive workforce.  Strong and positive employee morale is necessary for optimum productivity.  I can’t think of any client who has told me they didn’t want high employee satisfactory.  All companies work hard to motivate employees.

Corporate leaders and business owners have a lot of reasons to know how to motivate employees.  High levels of employee engagement make their jobs easier.  They want less stress in their employee relations.  They have profits to increase.   They want to sharpen their competitive edge.  They want to keep costs low and productivity high.  They want to generate more revenue.  They want, they want, they want…   Are you reading this?  They want to motivate employees for all their corporate reasons and this is why most companies fail in how to motivate employees.

Employee motivation, employee satisfaction, employee engagement, and employee relations will never improve if it is all about what the company wants.  No one is going to work to make the company better or to reach company goals.   Organizations will fail if they believe a slick, new “program” is the way to motivate employees.  Employees will only be motivated when they know what’s in it for them.   They will increase productivity only when their needs are met.   Incentives to motivate employees must be tied to what they value and desire.  Strategic employers know this.  They work hard to understand what makes their employees tick.  Only when employee values are linked to motivating incentives will companies succeed.