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2017’s New Marijuana Laws

A White Paper with Tips for California Employers

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This entry was posted in Business Clients, White Papers by .

Defined as the “Legal Haze,” the new laws regulating marijuana usage may make employers feel like they are in a weird place, unsure of the role the new law will play in their workplace.

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Gen-Whenever: Recruiting & Retaining the 3 Generations

A WHITE PAPER PROVIDED BY LEDGENT TECHNOLOGY

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Boomers, Gen Xers, millennials – even a few traditionalists and Gen Z – all occupy today’s working population. A multigenerational technology workforce brings diverse viewpoints, differing skill sets, and a mix of experience and eagerness.

Finding and managing this diversity of talent won’t be successful without a strategy. Instances of age-related hiring bias in technology further complicates the situation. According to USA Today, the technology industry’s tendency to “celebrate youth and newness” can veer into age discrimination. They report that 90 age-related complaints have been filed against tech companies in Silicon Valley since 2012.

On the other end of the spectrum is potential exploitation of younger workers. Dice. com reports that those who are new to the workforce tend to be willing to take a lower salary, work longer hours and often don’t have families or other obligations taking time away from work. This can lead to quick burn-out and replacement.

The truth is that every workplace can benefit from the perspective and experience brought by employees of all generations, from the “seasoned pro” to the “newbie.” In order to effectively cultivate the benefits of a multi-generational workforce, you must recruit fairly and foster an engaging environment of understanding.

T-T-Talking ‘Bout My Generation Three generations, baby boomers, Generation X and millennials, make up almost all of the workforce (dates vary according to the source).

Baby Boomers
(born from 1946 to 1964)
• Optimistic
• Teamwork and cooperation
• Ambitious
• Workaholic

Generation X
(born from 1965 to 1980)
• Skeptical
• Self-reliant
• Risk-taking
• Balances work and personal life

Millennials
(born from 1981 to 2000)
• Hopeful
• Meaningful work
• Diversity and change valued
• Technology savvy
(American Psychological Association)

These stereotypes serve as a quick fix for understanding – just don’t fall into the trap of unfairly mischaracterizing members of each generation. Shared experience leads to some similar characteristics and behaviors, but employers should remember that candidates are unique individuals.

Relying too heavily on these can create an implicit bias, leading to unfair and ineffective hiring and management tactics.

At worst, these stereotypes can lead to discrimination and/or a failure to understand your employees beyond the dimension of age. Luckily, while employees of different generations are different, they’re not that different. There are one-size-fit-sall tactics that you can employ to create a fair and engaging environment for everyone involved.

Culture Check

Before you implement the strategies introduced in this White Paper, take a moment to evaluate your culture. Every organization has a culture, whether they are aware of it or not. Work with your company’s leadership to define it and discuss what ideal coworkers can do to influence it. Literally write down your culture so you can reference it during the interview process and while developing and implementing programs. Be aware this does not mean finding duplicates of your current employees but rather focus on finding candidates that will complement one another and share the organization’s values.

Attracting Talent from All Generations

How you find candidates and how you engage them during the recruitment process will affect the age diversity of your talent network. Here are some tips to get prepared.

RECRUITING

Finding (and being found by) age-diverse candidates requires a strong online presence, particularly in the tech industry. When creating an online job posting, your language will make all the difference. Be aware of age-discriminating phrases such as “recent graduates” or “old-school.” In addition to the basics of the position, include information about internal practices and cultural fit, candidly and objectively. Be honest about workplace practices and culture – not everyone is looking for a ping pong table and casual attire.

Once they see your online job posting, they are likely going to check your website and social media pages. Prepare your website to greet them – begin with updating your website with the most accurate information about your organization, including cultural practices.

Don’t stop on the desktop level. According to Indeed, all three generations utilize mobile devices in their job search.

You don’t necessarily need a custom mobile application, but you must ensure that your website and respective job posts are mobile-friendly across various platforms. Make sure to test the mobile capabilities of your company’s job application process yourself from a jobseeker’s point of view.

Jobseekers are also likely to look to your social media pages to get a better feel for your company, especially sites like Glassdoor and LinkedIn. Currently, social media use spans all generations.

% of US Adults who use at least one social media site:
Age 18 -29: 86%
Age 30-49: 80%
Age 50-64: 64%
Age 65+: 34%
[Pew]

Some Things Never Go Out of Style…

Remember that online listings are not the only source for jobs. Consider utilizing “traditional” methods of recruiting, including job fairs, referrals, and in some cases print ads. Partnering with an organization like Ledgent Technology can ensure a wider influence and a fairer candidate audience to efficiently fill a position.

INTERVIEWING

Interviews are your first opportunity to broaden your understanding of a candidate.

During the interviewing process, once again, be wary of language. It’s not illegal to ask how old someone is, but it can make them feel uncomfortable.

Avoid questions and phrases like these; some are rude, some are illegal:

1. How old are you?
2. You’re overqualified.
3. When do you plan on retiring?
4. In my experience, boomers/Xers/ millennials are…
5. You have too much energy/not enough energy.
6. Do you have children? Do you plan to?
7. Do you think you’re old enough to handle this responsibility?
8. We know young people tend to job hop …
9. When did you graduate?
10. What’s your childcare arrangement?

Thankfully, there are plenty of other things to discuss in an interview. All jobseekers want to know more about your organization. The interview is your chance to dazzle them as well. Regardless of age, jobseekers want fair pay, comprehensive benefits, and an appealing work culture.

Don’t assume that only candidates of a certain age group are interested in certain benefits and programs. Lay out all of your company’s programs and allow time for plenty of questions.

During the interview, be sure to include culture-based questions and provide honest information about your company’s culture. In a survey of more than 200 HR professionals, 90% of respondents rated recruiting for culture fit as “very important” to “essential.” However, don’t skew perceptions of your culture based on the candidate. Make sure their first day — and career — will be everything it’s promised to be.

As you get to know candidates, remember that age can limit exposure to certain practices and experiences. Nevertheless, you can teach skills (to an extent), but you can’t teach culture fit. Be sure that your organization’s culture values all age groups. If a candidate is a stellar culture fit, don’t pass them over – no one is too young or old to learn something new.

Before, after, and during the interview process, take a moment to conduct a self-assessment: Am I making fair inferences? You can fight stereotypes simply by reflecting on any biases. If you feel as though you cannot interview fairly, it’s best to ask for assistance.

Retaining an Age- Diverse Workforce

Once you have recruited a talented, culturally sound and age-diverse workforce, dedicated practices will keep engagement high and turnover low.

Involved, passionate employees are more productive, more profitable, and build your organization’s culture. Engaged workers consistently outperform non-engaged employees. They provide better service to your customers, remain loyal longer, and are better teammates. It is typical and recommended to create dedicated programs that will facilitate lasting engagement based on employee needs. However, it’s unrealistic to have custom policies for certain coworkers. Fortunately, engaging programs and policies know no age limit. For example, if you allow Gen Xers to leave at 3 p.m. to pick up their children from school, you must make this perk available to all employees. This will be appreciated by millennials and boomers alike. Meanwhile, depriving employees without school-aged children can be detrimental to engagement.

According to Quantum Workplace, while there are many factors of engagement, they can be narrowed down to three themes:
• Confidence in leadership
• The organization’s commitment to valuing employees
• Positive outlook on the future

This research coincides with our own internal research for employee engagement. We found the three main drivers of employee engagement to be:
• “I have confidence in my leaders’ directions and decisions”
• “Work culture brings out the best in me”
• “[The organization] is interested in my growth and development”

Engagement is crucial for all employees, but there is no quick fix. It may take some time for the practices that you implement to contribute to overall employee engagement. While the programs you implement will serve as the base, engagement is solidified though everyday efforts and interactions. Active efforts of inclusion go beyond the diversity of representation and create cohesive, efficient, and dynamic teams.

IMPLEMENT

The programs described below will cater to all employees while serving their unique needs.

Pay & Benefits

Employees cannot even think about engagement if their most basic needs are not met. Be sure you are providing comprehensive benefits and calculating salaries objectively by focusing on experience and skill rather than age. To ensure fairness, check out our award-winning Salary Guide here.

Moderate Stress

All people have an optimal stress point, where an individual has enough stress to be motivated but not so much that they become overwhelmed. Boomers are more likely to occupy senior leadership roles and be overwhelmed, while millennials in entry-level jobs may not have enough to stay motivated. Create an open dialogue and share responsibilities to moderate stress based on each employee’s unique stress point.

Mentor Programs

Your employees have a lot to learn from one another. Create mentor and reverse mentor programs to increase exposure and teamwork. Retention is 25% higher for employees who have engaged in companysponsored mentoring (Deloitte).

Lead with Transparency

Transparent leadership and practices promote fairness, reduce jealousy, and boost connectedness. How you define transparent leadership will vary depending on your workplace. Focus on sharing information about programs and practices that directly affect your employees.

Structured Career Paths

Regardless of where an employee is in their career, there are always opportunities for growth. Amongst engaged employees, 96% have a clear idea of what is expected of them and 81% say their supervisor takes an interest in their career development (Quantum Workplace). When an employee knows exactly what is expected of them, it helps everyone get ahead and it can reduce jealousy and misunderstandings surrounding promotions and growth.

Employee Recognition

Amongst engaged employees, 83% receive recognition for a job well done (Quantum Workplace). It’s not only millennials who want recognition. In fact, 50% of employees who don’t feel valued plan to look for another job in the next year (Huffington Post). Create a structured program to praise and recognize employees. For more information and tips on recognition, check out our White Paper here.

Ongoing Education and Training

Technology is developing and advancing all the time, be sure coworkers of all ages have the opportunity to learn before they are replaced. Consider programs like “lunch and learns”, conferences, and off site classes.

Survey Frequently

Conduct anonymous surveys frequently so employees can voice their opinions and concerns. When reviewing survey results, focus on what you can learn about your employees, rather than evaluating how you are doing as an employer. Take immediate action based on those results; do not allow issues to fester. According to TNS Employee Insights, 70% of engaged employees agree that their organization takes action based on survey results.

Mandatory Fun

It’s not mandatory for employees to participate in engagement events, but it’s essential for you to sponsor activities. Allow for coworkers to intermingle in relaxed environments away from work. This can include happy hours, volunteer efforts, and team competitions. People tend to socially prefer interacting with others who are closer to their own age, so go out of your way to foster collaboration.

MAINTAINING EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT

Once your engagement programs are implemented, it’s up to your leadership and team managers to create a fair environment. They set the tone and foster day to day collaboration and are champions for inclusion.

Can’t we all just get along?

Raised with different parenting methods, historical events, technological advances, and general experiences, conflict is inevitable but not insurmountable.

The villain is not time or each other, it’s a lack of communication and understanding. Don’t allow yourself to get absorbed into the stereotypical generational differences, instead focus on the real root of the problem and utilize traditional methods of conflict resolution.

For instance, if a Xer is frustrated with a millennial’s lack of ability to work independently, the problem is likely not that the millennial needs constant validation and participation trophies. It is more likely that the millennial did not receive the training that they needed. Use generational stereotypes to understand, not condemn or dismiss.

The Responsibility of Inclusion

To promote inclusion, keep an eye out for teammates who may be treating other employees unfairly, and promote plenty of teamwork and collaboration. Let employees be their authentic selves, but discourage exclusionary behaviors.

Unite your team towards a common cause. All generations are looking for meaning in their work. A shared purpose goes beyond our understanding of age. To learn more about facilitating a shared purpose, read our White Paper here.

Generational differences are nothing new. We have worked through them in the past and we will continue to do so. However, with dedicated efforts and programs, we can make teams even more efficient and effective by focusing on similarities rather than our differences.

Candidate Supply & Demand

Passive Candidates

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This entry was posted in Business Clients, White Papers by .

It’s a candidate’s market, we just live in it. With the unemployment rate in technology dipping to 2% and lower in some markets, the demand for talent only continues to grow. According to Glassdoor, 90% of recruiters agree that the market is in the candidates’ favor. When available tech talent dwindles, you have to find them.

Only a few technology professionals are actively seeking new opportunities. LinkedIn states that 25% are actively looking for new work, with 2/3 of them currently employed. Meanwhile 75% of jobseekers are considered passive, employed but open to new opportunities. These candidates are called passive candidates or non-candidates. They are the majority of talent available.

Passive jobseekers shouldn’t be your “last resort” when it comes to building a strong tech team. Instead, actively strategize a recruiting approach that allows you to reach out to those who are currently employed. Their casual approach to a job search requires dedication on your part, however. This “non-candidate” pool is where the majority of talent is and can result in the best hires.

Desire & Intent

With the demand for candidates high, and the availability of talent low, top performers have the luxury of being able to find new work somewhat easily. While Millennials are labelled as “Job Hoppers,” more frequent career change is a phenomenon expanding across generations and industries.

A survey by Willis Towers Watson states 3 in 10 employees say they are likely to leave their employer within the next two years. The average tenure has decreased from 4.6 years in January 2014 to 4.2 years in January 2016 (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Meanwhile, only 15% of workers are completely satisfied and don’t want to move on to another company (LinkedIn).

Job-hopping and dissatisfaction elsewhere can work in your favor. With satisfaction low and intent to leave somewhat moderate, employees are more likely to be open to a passive candidate experience. Casually talking to recruiters or browsing the occasional job post are relatively lowrisk methods of exploring new opportunities. Plus, with today’s social networks, platforms like LinkedIn and Glassdoor introduce new opportunities to passive candidates on a daily or weekly basis.

Even satisfied workers glance at outside opportunities. While 80% of passive jobseekers are satisfied in their current job (LinkedIn), almost 60% of workers look at other jobs at least monthly (Indeed), and 84% of candidates would consider leaving their current company if another company with an excellent reputation offered them a job (Glassdoor).

In 2015, 75% of workers with new jobs hadn’t actively applied for the position but were “poached” or referred (FRBSF Economic Research). Seeking passive candidates is common practice, for reasons beyond necessity.

Boomerang Employees

Another untapped resource lies in former employees: 40% say they’d consider returning to their former company (Workplacetrends). These are called boomerang employees. You already know their skills and culture fit, and they know what to expect from your workplace.

Passive Candidate, Active Results

Passive candidates have up-to-date experience, in-demand skills, and current industry knowledge. They likely won’t have a gap in their resume. They are also 120% more likely to want to make an impact, 33% more likely to want more challenging work, and 17% less likely to need skill development (Undercover Recruiter).

Passive candidate performance was rated 9% higher than active candidates, and these individuals were 25% more likely to stay with an organization long-term (CEB Recruiting Leadership Council Global Labour Market Briefing).

However, these perks come at a cost: 32% of passive candidates expect a salary increase of more than 15% if approached by recruiters, and that figure rises to 51% if the job in question requires relocation (Indeed).

They are harder to find and are less likely to jump through hoops. To get their attention, they require a great deal of flexibility in your talent acquisition process.

The 3 P’s of Passive Candidates

Passive candidates are less likely to find you, less likely to participate in long hiring processes, and less likely to take the leap without plenty of information. No matter the circumstance, a new job requires risk and therefore, trust. To attract passive candidates, the process must be quick, informative, effective, and friendly.

When pursuing passive candidates, you must have a plan: be prepared, be proactive, and be persistent. While these steps may feel numerous, they are the building blocks of a comprehensive strategy that will lure in both active and passive candidates.

Be Prepared

  • Culture: Before you begin your attempts to attract new employees, focus on creating an engaging culture for your current employees. The right culture will keep your current employees from the job-hopping trend and instead make them your biggest advocates in attracting future employees.
  • Referrals: Encourage your employees to join the cause. Create a referral reward program to increase your prospects. Referrals tend to be faster, cheaper, and have higher retention rates.
  • Resources: Be sure you have the resources available to capture the attention of passive jobseekers. Be prepared to make a competitive offer and have opportunities available for advancement.
  • Online Presence: Update your website and social media pages to appropriately reflect your culture and other offerings. Be sure your site is mobilefriendly for casual, passive browsing. Pay close attention to your Glassdoor page so candidates can gain a candid understanding of your workplace.
  • Simplify: Streamline your application process and simplify your hiring process to move prospects along quickly. Be sure to test your online application process yourself from a candidate’s perspective.

Be Proactive

  • LinkedIn and Beyond:

    This will be one of your most powerful tools, but only if you use it correctly. LinkedIn is a dynamic community of both active and passive jobseekers. But how you interact with them may change the outcome.

    According to Social Talent, 81% of recruiters choose to send a LinkedIn “connect request” or InMail first to engage a passive candidate; but only 14% take the time to send an email, and only 5% try to reach out through a phone call. Utilize LinkedIn, but don’t be afraid to go beyond. Send personalized messages and follow up with other forms of communication.

    Make sure your profile is professional, up-to-date and utilized regularly. Share articles and posts, especially ones that would apply to someone who may be looking for a new job.

  • Meet Needs and Expectations: Give passive candidates a comprehensive view of what this job change will look like and what they can expect in the new position.

    According to LinkedIn, the most important factors for passive jobseekers are:

    • Better compensation and benefits
    • Better work/life balance
    • Greater opportunities for advancement
    • More challenging work
    • Better fit for skill set
  • Research: Gain an understanding of the candidate: their current position, their past positions, their passion projects, their volunteer work, etc. The more you know about them, the better you can understand them, their needs, and the potential impact on your organization.

Kelli Dobbins is a seasoned recruitment professional and a National Talent Engagement Manager at Roth Staffing Companies, the parent company of Ultimate Staffing Services. Roth just wrapped up its biggest hiring year in history, increasing headcount to its workforce by 20% year over year. Kelli has filled positions ranging from entry-level opportunities to leadership roles.

Here’s her advice on winning over passive candidates:

“Double down on the communication with candidates you are working with and stay in touch frequently (via phone, text and/or email).

“Take time to get to know who they are, what their future goals are and what is going to be important to them in a new role, rather than trying to sell them a specific opening we have right now. It’s much less transactional… and more of a process of building a relationship. I like to keep track of the passive candidates I speak to and remember to reach out quarterly, just so they know that I haven’t forgotten about them.”

Be Persistent

  • Maintain: Stay in touch with former employees. Send holiday cards and check in on LinkedIn. Not only can they become boomerang employees, they can provide referrals.
  • Patience: Just because a candidate isn’t ready or available now, doesn’t mean they won’t be in the future. Keep in contact without being overwhelming.
  • Meeting Places: Passive candidates will likely not want their current employers to know they are looking. Allow for calls beyond 8-5 and meetings in less-public places.
  • Diversity: Jobseekers use up to 16 sources in their job search, while passive jobseekers may use none. Advertise openings on non-job centric sites, like Facebook or Instagram, to attract those who are not frequently on LinkedIn. Diversify your platform search and presence, so you can find and be found.

Being recruited is flattering, so allow yourself to get involved in the excitement of the process. Passive candidates are an elusive entity and in hot demand. With a dedicated strategy, though, you can improve both your passive and active candidate prospects.

Although challenging for employers, a limited pool of candidates is a good thing. It means the economy is improving. Jobseekers now have more opportunities and you have the chance to be part of their journey. You can provide the dream job someone doesn’t know they’re looking for.

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Wellness that Works

Creating a Dynamic Wellness Program

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This entry was posted in Business Clients, White Papers by .

Benefits and perks are an ever-evolving arms race in the technology workplace, as organizations strive to meet employee needs and stand out in the eyes of jobseekers. The “wellness program” phenomenon isn’t just a shiny perk, though – it is a tool that serves employees and drives business results.

 

In the tech world, wellness programs are crucial as many in the industry tend to work long hours, sit at a desk much of the day, and thrive on challenge. An effective program can yield a whole host of benefits for your tech teams, from improved productivity to heightened engagement and creativity.

 

According to TechRepublic, “A good wellness program energizes your team, which fosters their creativity…. Whether they do web design or software development, techies have to continually think outside the box – and when they do, your company is more profitable.”

 

Given the physical conditions and mental demands of many technology roles, your organization’s concept of a “wellness program” should go beyond just physical well-being.  It’s critical to address a broad range of employee well-being issues and strive to engage employees in participation so that everyone reaps the benefits.

 

Healthy Employees, Healthy Business

 

Personal health plays a critical role in the life of any employee, and the health of each individual has an effect on your organization. “Well-being reflects the whole person,” says Dr. Jim Harter, Gallup’s chief scientist for workplace management and well-being. “The whole person comes to work, not just the worker.”

 

According to Zane Benefits, employees who eat healthy are 25% more likely to have higher job performance, and employees who exercise at least three times a week are 15% more likely to have higher job performance. In addition, absenteeism is 27% lower for employees who eat healthy and exercise.

 

“New research suggests that wellness is an extremely powerful element that can play a significant role in employee engagement, productivity, talent retention, and creativity,” says Kristi Welch, VP of Client Services at FitThumb.com.

 

The Productivity Drain

Unhealthy employees can have an adverse effect on your organization. They are less productive and have higher turnover rates. Sick employees are more likely to miss work, and incur higher healthcare costs. However, absent employees aren’t the biggest drain on productivity.

 

Presenteeism, a situation in which employees are physically present at work but unable to perform at full capacity due to illness, creates a greater drain on productivity than being absent altogether (not to mention the potential spread of germs to otherwise healthy coworkers!). According to the Institute for HealthCare Consumerism, one in five workers have experienced a health issue that has affected their ability to get their work done, resulting in productivity loss.

 

For every dollar spent on medical costs and pharmaceuticals, there is $2.30 of health-related productivity loss due to absenteeism and presenteeism.

 

The Cost of Un-Wellness

Since the birth of the benefits package, and the birth of the Affordable Care Act, healthcare for employees has been a top priority and financial burden. By offering health care benefits, employers are more likely to attract and retain top talent and ensure the wellness of their workers.

 

However, unhealthy employees are driving the price even higher. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) estimates $650 – $1400 in excess annual medical costs for adults with high healthcare risk, and $900 in excess annual medical costs for physically inactive adults. Wellness Councils of America states 15% of health claims are attributed to sedentary lifestyles.

 

Meanwhile, employees with higher levels of well-being have 41% lower health-related costs compared with employees who have lower well-being.

 

Wellness as Investment

In the face of rising healthcare costs, implementing a wellness program can feel daunting and expensive. However, wellness programs are an investment that benefits employees and the bottom line, and demonstrates caring for employees at all levels.

 

Harvard Business Review reports that after implementing a wellness program, Johnson & Johnson saw a return of $2.71 for every dollar spent. Forbes reports the average ROI as high as 3:1.

 

Beyond financial gain, SHRM reports reduced absenteeism, higher productivity, reduced injuries, and improved morale and loyalty as a result of wellness programs. The Institute for HealthCare Consumerism found that employees who participated in such programs are more likely to have a higher level of job satisfaction, feel happier with their employer, and be more satisfied with their overall benefits.

 

A 2015 survey of nearly 2,000 U.S. employees conducted by Quantum Workplace found that employees are 38% more engaged and 18% more likely to go the extra mile when they felt their employers cared about their well-being. Employees were also 28% more likely to recommend their workplace to others.

 

The Power of Wellness, the Power of Intent

While these benefits are encouraging, wellness programs are truly about employees – that’s what makes a program effective. Employees will likely not participate in a wellness program and change their lifestyles solely for the purpose of saving their employer money.

 

Before you create a wellness program, be sure your vision follows these guidelines.

 

Programs should be:

  • Sincere
  • Culturally-sound
  • Supported, promoted, and celebrated by leadership
  • In addition to other basic benefits

 

 

Sincere

Potential ROI should not be the sole reason a program is created. It is not something to cross off your to-do list and hope it runs on auto-pilot. It must be sincerely implemented and run on a daily basis. If senior leadership cannot see past monetary gain, look to the right people to lead the program while senior leadership actively participates. If the program is implemented without sincere intent to improve the life of employees, it could create an adverse effect.

 

Wellness programs should make employees feel cared for, not used. Insincere programs are more likely to be superficial, and therefore, ineffective.

 

Culturally-Sound

Be sure that any program is designed with the reality of your culture in mind. Not all workplaces enjoy sunshine and rainbows, and that’s okay – there are wellness options that align with every kind of culture. Align programs with the company mission, vision, and values and be sure that your culture supports wellness initiatives.

 

 

“Well-designed workplace wellness programs should reinforce the company mission and values at every turn, orienting newbies and reconnecting veterans in need of a boost.”

– Henry Albrecht, CEO of Limeade

 

 

The most important cultural aspect for a successful program is accountability, for leadership and employees. Demonstrate transparency and establish trust by following through with promises, and encourage employees to do the same.

 

Supported, Promoted, and Celebrated by Leadership

Your wellness program needs to be actively supported and recognized by any and all leaders within your organization. Leaders must participate and communicate that they value the program in order for employees to feel comfortable.

 

For example, if your wellness programs include special extended lunches to take a workout class, senior leadership should lace up their sneakers and attend. Then, during meetings, they will recognize and celebrate others who also attended. They should regularly communicate the value of the program.

 

This will demonstrate sincerity, and will encourage others to participate, especially any programs that occur during the day.

 

It is up to leaders to remove obstacles that may prevent any and all employees from participating. For example, according to Humana and the Economist Intelligence Unit, employers and employees agree that the biggest obstacle to increased participation in wellness programs is lack of time. Leaders should create time-conscious programs in response.

 

In Addition to Other Basic Benefits

Wellness programs are not a substitute for a benefits package (health, dental, vision, etc.). However, if you are limited in how much insurance you can offer employees, a wellness program can help fill the gap.

 

 

Make the Wellness Program of your Dreams

When thinking of wellness, most think of diet and exercise. While these are essential for a healthy lifestyle, wellness is holistic and dynamic, and a wellness program should mirror that.

 

Wellness is “…a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” – The World Health Organization

 

Gallup and Healthways break down wellness into 5 factors, and Ledgent Technology adds a sixth.

 

  1. Purpose
  2. Social
  3. Financial
  4. Community
  5. Physical
  6. + Mental

 

In the era of Google-sized programs, small programs can feel insufficient. However, your program doesn’t have to be a giant, expensive endeavor. In fact, you’ll find that many of our suggestions come at little to no cost. While in-house massages and on-campus gyms are attractive, employees simply want to feel cared for more than anything else.

 

Purpose 

Liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals

Defining a purpose across an organization can serve as a powerful motivator for employees, while increasing job satisfaction. Knowing exactly how one’s role contributes to the greater world instills a unique responsibility in each employee.

 

A study by Deloitte found that in organizations with a strong sense of purpose, 73% of employees were engaged, compared to only 24% of employees in organizations without. In addition, according to Humana and the Economist Intelligence Unit, some 67% of employees said participation in wellness programs increased their engagement in their employer’s mission and goals.

 

  • Define, document, and promote your company, team, and individual purpose (if you need assistance, see our White Paper.)
  • Include recognition and celebration for team and individual accomplishments
  • Go out to lunch to celebrate new hires
  • Subsidize personal development books and courses
  • Offer structured career paths
  • Set aside time for leaders to meet with any and all employees for “coffee talk”

 

Social

Having supportive relationships and love in your life

Workplace friendships are a delicate dance, but a vital ingredient to a successful work life balance. Humans are pack animals, who thrive in collaborative environments.

 

Employees with a best friend at work tend to be more focused, more passionate, and more loyal to their organizations. They get sick less often, suffer fewer accidents, and have more satisfied customers, along with increased productivity.

 

  • Include social collaborations, i.e. happy hours, team contests, and company lunches
  • Coordinate team events or activities for new hires as soon as they start
  • Create a company softball or kickball team and engage in friendly competition

 

Financial

Managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security

Financial well-being affects all aspects of well-being. According to the Institute for HealthCare Consumerism, workers facing debt and unstable financial situations reported their stress has caused occurrences of ulcers, digestive problems, migraines, anxiety and depression.

 

Do not pry into employee’s financial status, but provide them with the tools to build their own finances – creating better, more focused workers.

 

  • Bring in experts to advise on 401(k) saving
  • Provide financial literacy and budgeting tools
  • Offer financial coaching and education on productive saving and spending, and investing basics
  • Start an employee-donated emergency fund to help those affected by a sudden financial crisis due to catastrophic events

 

Community

Liking where you live, feeling safe, and having pride in your community

Provide a safe workspace, which includes removing toxic teammates. Focus on your organization’s role in the local community and get involved.

 

  • Volunteer at local charities
  • Donate to community causes
  • Coordinate lunches from neighborhood small businesses
  • Coordinate team outings to local attractions and hotspots

 

“Promoting community charity walks, races and other events reminds employees that work is a community, not just a paycheck. Allowing employees time for volunteer activities of their choice fosters autonomy, renews a sense of purpose and provides a jolt of motivation.”

–Henry Albrecht, CEO of Limeade

 

Physical

Having good health and enough energy to get things done daily

According to Humana and the Economist Intelligence Unit, 91% of employees participating in wellness programs have improved their fitness, while 89% said participation has improved their overall happiness and well-being.

 

Don’t force employees into physical routines or healthy eating habits, but make your program so fun and widespread that they can’t resist joining in. Even something as simple as providing healthy eating alternatives can make a big impact. For example, TechRepublic states that “Techies are grazers – and they are often so in the zone they don’t want to bother with a full meal, which leaves them prey to junk food from the vending machine or convenience store.” By having healthier options on hand such as nuts and fruit, you can “fuel” your team without the empty calories, thus boosting focus and productivity. Here are some other ideas:

 

  • Regularly stock a fresh fruit and veggie bowl in the breakroom
  • Host webinars on different wellness topics, encourage internal employees with expertise to share their knowledge and lead the webinars
  • Coordinate fitness competitions
  • Set up a reimbursement system for gym memberships and workout classes (that way, employees can choose a fitness routine that works for them)
  • Offer great health insurance
  • Discourage people from coming in sick
  • Provide reasonable paid sick time

 

Mental

Internal health centered around confidence and self-esteem, enabling you to fully enjoy and appreciate other people, day-to-day life and your environment. Using abilities to reach your potential.

 

Good mental health may be the most important, and hardest to detect, aspect of well-being. It is vital for the health of your employees and your business.

 

About 44% of employers said stress management programs would be the single most effective way of establishing a culture of wellness, according to a study by Humana and the Economist Intelligence Unit. While 80% of workers feel stress on the job, for many employees, mental health goes beyond that.

 

Nearly 30% of young adults age 18 to 25 have a diagnosable mental health disorder, and 5% of U.S. adults have a mental health-related disability that seriously impairs their daily functioning. Additionally, behavioral and mental health issues comprise approximately 6% of total health care costs.

 

Harvard Business Review states that depression and stress have proved to be major sources of lost productivity. And according to the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, for certain conditions, such as anxiety, employers lose as much as $20 in productivity for every dollar they spend on medical care and pharmaceuticals.

 

Mental health is a personal matter, and there are ways to respect the privacy of your employees while supporting them

 

  • Don’t let frustrated people keep working. Encourage them to take a walk and record their steps. (It’s a physical + mental double whammy!)
  • Encourage people to actually use their vacation time, primarily by using yours
  • Ensure that all health insurance options include mental health care benefits
  • Establish comfort and an open environment where mental health claims are taken seriously and handled accordingly
  • Train managers to look for signals that an employee might be having a hard time
  • Reduce physical stress due to noise, lack of privacy, poor lighting, poor ventilation, poor temperature control or inadequate sanitary facilities
  • Allow employees to bring in their pets
  • Consider offering “Ferris Bueller Days,” where employees can take a day off for any reason

 

As you build your program with passion and intent, document the plan, consistently coordinate future events, offer awards and incentives, and maintain the program. Make information about the program available to all employees, and send out regular reminders about different aspects of the program.

 

Frequently survey your employees for their feedback on the program and adjust accordingly. Practice patience, cultural shifts take time. The key is to continue with the program consistently.

 

More than anything, these programs should be fun. These programs should be implemented because you love and care about your employees. You want to give them a fantastic work life, allowing them to be their best personal and professional self.

 

________________________________________________________________

About Ledgent Technology

Ledgent Technology specializes in the placement of full-time and contract professionals in roles ranging from IT support to software development. We are a division of Roth Staffing Companies, one of the largest privately-held staffing companies in the country, operating from more than 100 locations in 20 states and the District of Columbia via six specialized business lines: Ledgent TechnologyUltimate Staffing Services (the 11th largest office/clerical staffing company in the country), Ledgent Finance & Accounting, Adams & Martin Group (legal staffing), and affiliates Ultimate Locum Tenens and About Talent (a workforce solutions company).

Roth Staffing Companies stands as the only firm in the industry ever ranked #1 on the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing, privately-owned companies, and is the only one to receive all of the industry’s most prestigious honors in a single year, accomplishing this feat for two consecutive years.  The organization is consistently ranked among the 50 largest staffing companies in the country.

Purpose, On Purpose

How to make a better team through shared purpose

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This entry was posted in Business Clients, White Papers by .

A White Paper by Ledgent Technology

What’s your IT team’s purpose? Is it to generate reports? To keep the company’s network running smoothly? To keep data secure? The answer is likely, at the most basic level, yes. But at a higher level, what are you really working toward? What’s the greater purpose that unifies your team and your organization in what you set out to achieve?

In technology, being mindful of a greater collective purpose can be tough. Teams are immersed in data and code and problems to solve all day long. It’s often challenging to look past the daily needs and focus on why you’re really there. And yet it is critical to do so. Studies consistently show that employees who are driven by a sense of purpose are more engaged – and engagement leads to better outcomes.

A shared purpose amongst a team, and across an organization, serves as a powerful motivator and has a positive effect on the entirety of your business.

A shared purpose spreads across employees, leadership, and consumers, all eager to play a part in something bigger.

In this white paper, we’ll explain what we mean by “shared purpose,” why it’s important in the technology industry, and how to create and communicate a shared purposed among your team. Get a quick snapshot of how to create a shared purpose in our INFOGRAPHIC.

 

Esprit de corps, Raison d’etre

Spirit of the body, reason for being – a shared purpose is more than a decorative quote for your break room. A shared purpose goes beyond the products or services offered by an organization. It is the why: why you sit in front of your monitor every day, what you write code for, why your organization exists at all – distinguishing your business in a sea of corporate-ness.

Baker Brand Communications, an employer brand agency, defines a shared purpose as an “inspirational driver that defines and drives all organizational activities — innovation, creativity, policy, structure, culture, communication, processes, as well as performance, growth and change.”

A shared purpose serves as a north star, directing the entirety of an organization, ensuring that everyone is rowing in the same direction.

“Purpose” is a hunger that is shared by all humans in their everyday life, and work should not be excluded. It’s good for the human and the employee.

A study by Deloitte found that in organizations with a strong sense of purpose, 73% of employees were engaged, compared to only 24% of employees in organizations without. Harvard Business Review found that 89% of executives stated that a strong sense of collective purpose drives employee satisfaction.

Forbes states that organizations with a shared purpose are more cross-communicative. A shared purpose inspires – almost forces – collaboration, as all members are responsible for and desire similar results.

In addition, Inc., Forbes, and Quandora all report similar versions of what employees desire from their employers: “feeling important/ valued” always comes out on top. A shared purpose serves as an avenue for feeling important, instilling a unique responsibility in each employee.

However, Harvard Business Review reports that only 46% of respondents report that their organization has a strong shared sense of purpose, while only 38% report that their staff has a clear understanding of organizational purpose and commitment to core values and beliefs.

“In spite of efforts to improve performance, most organizations struggle to provide what people really need most to be successful – an emotional connection to the team and work,” says Curt Coffman, author of Culture Eats Strategy for Lunch.

 

Conscious Capitalism
A shared purpose is communal across a business and transcends to customers and the public. In a new era of business transparency and “slacktivism,” more and more customers want to be intimately involved with the brands they interact with and piggy-back on their purpose. A desire for purpose is felt by all humans, not just employees.

According to a study by Edelman PR, U.S. consumers feel responsible to help others, but aren’t particularly involved – they look to marketers to bridge that gap. Buying from a brand that has a strong purpose is an easy way to feel part of a bigger picture through their average purchasing decisions, and the same can be said for B2B services.

Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why, states, “People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.”

In their Culture of Purpose study, Deloitte found that in organizations with a strong sense of purpose, 92% of respondents stated that they had long lasting relationships with clients, compared to only 69% of those in an organization without a strong sense of purpose; while 79% believed that their organization would outperform the competition, compared to 47% without.

In addition, in their Business Case for Purpose, the Harvard Business Review found stakeholders were more likely to trust the organization’s leadership, and investors were more confident in growth prospects. Further, 81% believed that purpose-driven firms deliver higher quality products and services, while 80% believed that it increased customer loyalty.

While this is inspiring in a business sense, purpose must be authentic. Demonstrating your purpose to your customers is crucial, but should not be the driving factor for implementation.

“Purpose is certainly not just a marketing issue or positioning of your brand image,” says Raj Sisodia, founding member of the Conscious Capitalism movement. “Purpose should impact every aspect of the firm.”

 

PURPOSE 101
Whether it’s on an organizational or departmental level, purpose should drive your team. The process of establishing and maintaining a shared purpose remains the same for both.

First things first
Before immediately establishing a purpose, other needs must be met. Purpose is tricky, because it serves as a basic building block for the entirety of an organization and its practices, but it is difficult to encourage employees to care about a shared purpose if their basic needs are not met.

An employee simply cannot care about a bigger picture if their salary is not secure, or if their job is unstable, or work under unsafe conditions. Basic needs must be met before complex ones.

Money cannot be the purpose, but purpose cannot be achieved without it. Employees need a fair salary and benefits before they can be expected to champion the purpose. However, employees are more likely to accept a lower salary for more meaningful work.

 

Defining a Purpose

A purpose is not a goal. A goal is on the map, the purpose is the compass. A goal has an end, a purpose is continuous. Even after a goal is achieved, a purpose continues to guide past that.

The beauty of a shared purpose is that it exists whether you recognize it or not. A purpose is not created, it is discovered. Your product, service, and organization already plays a role in people’s lives. It’s about connecting your employees with that purpose by identifying it.

Define your purpose in tiers, what your organization does for the greater world, what your team does for the organization, and what the individual does for the team. This increases accountability, and gives the individual meaning within the purpose.

The process is simple: have a conversation. If you are defining an overall organizational purpose, meet with senior leaders. If you are defining it by department or team, meet together and lead the discussion.

Work together to define the purpose. Start with: What do we do? And from there ask: Why does it matter?

Keep asking Why does it matter? until it feels meaningful. Consider different wordings and angles. Then document it for everyone to see and reference back to.

From there, define each individual’s role within the purpose. If employees are having a hard time defining it themselves, it is up to you to aid them and recognize their contributions.

Once a shared purpose is defined, every decision should be made with that purpose in mind. When your teammates have new ideas or desires, ask them how it will contribute to the purpose.

Maintain this in hiring decisions. When interviewing candidates, gauge their passion for your purpose. Ask them what they see as the purpose of the company and their role.

If they just don’t get it, they are not a suitable hire. Patty McCord, pioneer of Netflix’s iconic company culture, stresses the importance of personal responsibility in creating an ideal workplace, beginning with exceptional hires who demonstrate responsibility. Personal responsibility for the purpose allows employees to find and utilize that intrinsic motivation. And personal passion combined with responsibility keeps the purpose self-sustaining.

 

Take it outside
Don’t let your purpose stay within the walls of your business. Authenticity is key when it comes to a purpose, and where and how you apply it will build that genuineness.

Communicate your purpose to your customers and apply it to different community and volunteer endeavors. Give back in a way that aligns with your team’s purpose and you will build loyal, engaged workers and intrigued clients.

It is most important for the conversation about purpose to continue long after it is defined. It must be consciously implemented on a daily basis. As a leader, your team and organization will look to you and follow your lead.

Purpose is rooted in servant leadership, meaning that you lead based on what you do for others. This type of leadership empowers others, rather than commands, and is key in continuing a purpose beyond its definition. As leader it is your responsibility demonstrate the purpose on a daily basis, while removing obstacles that will keep your employees from living it as well (salary, toxic teammates, etc).

By implementing and nurturing a shared purpose, you empower the people in all aspects of your business, making their lives better. It is then that employees are eager to return the favor, expanding your business.

Recruiting for Culture: Move your business forward with the right people

A White Paper provided by Ledgent Technology & Engineering

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This entry was posted in Business Clients, White Papers by .

For a quick overview, check out our INFOGRAPHIC: Recruiting for Culture

You know exactly what qualifications you’re looking for in your next technology hire: skills, education, experience, etc. But your organization isn’t made up of code and email etiquette, it’s made up of people. And while their skills are what move your business toward its goals and objectives, it is your employees’ human traits that make it a great place to work. You should be recruiting for those traits in addition to your basic qualifications. In fact, most skills can be taught, personality traits cannot. Recruit for culture fit.

This does not mean you should be looking for clones of employees you already have. People with similar backgrounds and experiences won’t always get along, and you put your team in danger of a stalemate due to a lack of fresh ideas. The goal is to create a dynamic team that shares common values and work ethic.

Getting culture fit right is crucial. In a survey of more than 200 HR professionals, 90% of respondents rated recruiting for cultural fit as “very important to essential.” Harmony between employee and organization is critical for individual and team success. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, turnover due to poor culture fit can cost you anywhere between 50-60% of that employee’s annual salary. As the market shifts towards a candidate market, figuring out how to advertise for and attract the right culture fit will help you nab the best candidates and increase your retention.

What is it?

Can you define your organization’s culture right now? Without checking the website or the “Mission Statement” on the wall by the front desk? How about everyone else? Your team manager? Your interns? Articulating your organization’s culture (or unique “personality”) is the first step. Define the company’s goals, practices, values, and environment and be sure that your team knows it as well. This common language and element of transparency makes every employee accountable for upholding it.

From there, compare the culture of your organization to the microculture of your team. How are they the same, how do they differ? Are there elements of your team microculture that may not fit well in other departments?

Then, take a look at the individuals on your team. What do you love about them? Again, while Dave’s amazing analytic skills are important, you really love his ability to remember birthdays as well as deadlines. Make a list of these intangible skills, such as ability to work well under pressure or proactivity or being excited to participate in team events. But also don’t be afraid to include traits that you wish your team had more of. Document these traits and be sure to get feedback from your team as well, what do they need in their next teammate?

Who are they?

When it comes to attracting talent, communicate those characteristics (company-level, team-level, and personal-level) to the outside world though your job descriptions and requirements. An extreme, but excellent, example is Blizzard Entertainment, known for their online video games. When looking for a Security Software Engineer, they listed in the description: “Not only will you combat fraudsters, farmers and their minions, but also develop recommendation and engagement systems that provide real-time intelligence to our games. With petabytes of data at your disposal, you will be able to shape the future of Blizzard’s games!”

This engaging, video-game inspired language is communicating the skills they need and intriguing the people they want on their team. (Another job description included “must love puppies” as a requirement.) While it may be a little “sillier” than the average job description, they are demonstrating their culture and attracting their ideal applicants who will build the future of the company.

Don’t be afraid to flaunt some of your favorite company perks that are part of the culture, like paid community-service hours. These will get the attention of applicants who value those programs, and they will be more likely to support and uphold them.

This practice will likely attract more tech applicants, but that means more applicants are responding who “get” your company and are passionate about its practices. A standard job posting will get applicants who are looking for a job. A well-crafted, culture-rich post will also attract applicants looking for a work environment like yours.

Where do I find them?

Where you post is just as important as the description itself. With the market shifting towards a candidate focus, your best potential candidates probably already have jobs, classifying them as “passive jobseekers.” They are likely not actively scouring Dice.com and Indeed – so how do you get your opening in front of their eyes?

Before you begin saturating the internet with your post, always go for the referral. Check with your team; do they have friends or connections that would fit the job? Chances are your coworker will have a well-rounded view of the person they refer, in both a professional and personal sense, taking a lot of the guess work out of the candidate’s work ethic and potential culture fit.

If no one comes to mind, ask them to do some of the leg work. Have them post the job on their social media pages, this will also bring in more dimensional candidates from different industries and backgrounds. Ask your team to post on Alumni pages, and other groups they may be involved in. Utilizing these outlets will allow you to catch the eye of passive candidates, as they might be on these outlets for social reasons as opposed to professional.

From there, think of where you found your top performers, were they referrals? Think of where you might find that hidden culture fit; where do they hang out, how can you get in front of them? A poster in a strategically-located coffee shop? Campus-recruiting events? A popular neighborhood church? Add these strategies to your traditional recruiting techniques, such as posting on your company website.

Truly recruiting for culture fit requires thinking outside of the box. If you want someone with a creative background, try emailing some art professors at your local university to see if they have any students they’d recommend. If you are actually looking for applicants who “must love puppies,” try reaching out to members of a local animal rescue group.

Also look into unique interest groups on LinkedIn based on the job requirements. LinkedIn hosts groups like “Marketing Communication,” “Business Psychology,” “Veterans Hired,” and almost anything else you can think of – there is a group for everything.

You can use this as a way to target specific traits or candidates. For instance, if you feel as though your team needs more leaders, post on groups that include leadership as a focus; as they will be more likely to host members who have leadership traits.

Again, members of these groups are likely on there for social reasons. They visit these pages to ask questions, provide answers, and learn from others, this is an awesome opportunity to grab their attention.

Tip: You can search for specific skills on LinkedIn as well.

Hone in on candidates with your targeted traits, and check out the members of their groups. Send them personal, sincere, customized messages letting them know that you are interested in them. They will be flattered. Personal touches like this will make them feel important, and will help you stand out among other organizations.

Sometimes you may feel wary towards an addition to your already-perfect team, and other times you may be too close to the situation to know what it needs. If you’re having trouble defining what your department needs or what cultural traits you’re looking for, discuss with your HR team.

If you are in need of outside assistance, Ledgent Technology has mastered the art of recruiting for culture. We have plenty of experience hunting for passive technology jobseekers and also offer options like contract-to-hire so you can bring candidates in for a trial run. In the end, you know and love your organization, and human beings are peculiar creatures.

Sometimes a “dream candidate” won’t fit, and sometimes opposites attract. Your intuition is very powerful and you have all the tools to create your own dream team. The key is to craft the right message to attract the right candidate … and then, you must go find them in the right places. It’s worth the effort.

 

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About Ledgent Technology

Ledgent Technology specializes in the placement of full-time and contract professionals in roles ranging from IT support to software development. We are a division of Roth Staffing Companies, one of the largest privately-held staffing companies in the country, operating from more than 100 locations in 20 states and the District of Columbia via six specialized business lines: Ledgent TechnologyUltimate Staffing Services (the 11th largest office/clerical staffing company in the country), Ledgent Finance & Accounting, Adams & Martin Group (legal staffing), and affiliates Ultimate Locum Tenens and About Talent (a workforce solutions company).

Roth Staffing Companies stands as the only firm in the industry ever ranked #1 on the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing, privately-owned companies, and is the only one to receive all of the industry’s most prestigious honors in a single year, accomplishing this feat for two consecutive years.  The organization is consistently ranked among the 50 largest staffing companies in the country.

Employee Recognition in the Workplace

A White Paper provided by Ledgent Technology & Engineering

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This entry was posted in Business Clients, White Papers by .

Short on time? Check out our INFOGRAPHIC on Employee Recognition

 

Technology firms have gained quite a reputation over the years for offering their employees bountiful and increasingly over-the-top perks. Free food, yoga classes and gaming lounges may contribute to a company’s unique personality, but studies have shown these perks do not take the place of recognition when it comes to making an employee feel valued.

Whether you’re a firm that can afford alluring “extras” or operate within a more modest budget, you have this in common with organizations throughout the nation and across industries: recognizing employees is critical to your overall success.

According to a survey by Ceridian, recognition and rewards for performance drive employee engagement. “A robust rewards program is an important engagement tool for employers,” says Dave MacKay, President of Ceridian HCM.

As an organization, Ledgent Technology has dedicated ourselves to understanding employee engagement. Our own internal research reveals the same results as Ceridian’s and others: recognition has a direct correlation with engagement.

But what is the best way to recognize your team members? Recognition should be a balance: sincere and unique, while still playing an active structured role in your organization. While spontaneous “thank you’s” are appreciated by all, recognition is a critical element in your overall system for creating and maintaining an engaged workforce. Through daily actions and structured programs, you can create a self-sustaining culture of recognition.

Guiding Recognition

Richard S. Wellins, co-author of Your First Leadership Job: How Catalyst Leaders Bring Out the Best in Others, states, “[Recognition is] so simple, but our research shows that one- to two-thirds of leaders are not good at acknowledging good work.” He goes on to explain that leaders often worry that praise will seem unprofessional, or that employees will become complacent or overconfident. “It isn’t and they won’t.”

With the competition for top technology talent, your organization can’t afford to lose employees because they feel their efforts have gone unrecognized. A lack of acknowledgment has a direct impact on productivity: 40% of employed Americans say they’d put more energy into their work if they were recognized more often, while 50% of employees who don’t feel valued plan to look for another job within the next year.

Your employees are what make your business possible, but do they know that?

While many organizations may consider themselves too small to boast huge recognition programs and bonuses, small acts and the spirit of recognition can go farther than you think. A study by KRC Research discovered 6 in 10 employed Americans say they are more motivated by recognition than they are money. Another study found that 83% said recognition for contributions is more fulfilling than any reward or gift.

David Novak, the cofounder and former CEO of Yum! Brands, and author of O Great One! A Little Story About the Awesome Power of Recognition believes in inspiring people through joyful, personal acts of recognition that deepen relationships. “In simply showing employees how much they are appreciated and recognizing their great work and ideas, leaders can create an energized work environment,” says Novak. Recognition is a simple way to demonstrate to your employees the role they, and their contributions, play in moving the organization forward. This increases both their pride and sense of ownership.

“Organizations can revitalize company culture and connect people back to the company,” says Novak. “[Recognition creates] a catalyst for bottom line results and widespread confidence that everyone is important in the organization.”

Recognition » Engagement » $

Engagement is on every leader’s mind because engaged workers tend to be better workers. Recognition is but a single element of engagement. Engaged workers are passionate and enthusiastic, consistently outperforming non-engaged employees. They provide better service to your internal and external customers, and are better teammates.

Employees with low engagement levels are linked to higher turnover, higher absenteeism, and lower profitability. Quantum Workplace determined that hostile employees are four times more likely than engaged employees to claim that they didn’t receive enough recognition.

High engagement levels often stem from employees who feel valued and cared for. Employee recognition is one of the key drivers of employee engagement across industries and job classifications.

“Every time Ledgent Technology completes internal engagement surveys,” says Lori Eade, Manager of Customer Experience at Roth Staffing Companies (parent company of Ledgent Technology). “We see a direct correlation between how ‘recognized’ and valued a coworker feels and his or her overall engagement. All types of coworkers—from senior leadership to our entry-level positions—rank ‘I have been recognized for doing good work’ near the top of their workplace needs list.”

The Basics

Each organization and department should develop programs and practices that suit its unique team members and industry, yet there are certain philosophies and methods that remain constant. These include:

  • Pay increases and cash bonuses
  • Verbal and written praise
  • Compassionate leadership

Pay Increases & Cash Bonuses

Compensation is always a factor when it comes to employee satisfaction, and that’s okay. Quantum Workplace reports that approximately 60% of survey respondents ranked pay increases as one of the most important forms of recognition. For those workplaces that have the ability to provide financial rewards to top performing employees, develop a plan to reward coworkers once they hit certain individual and/or group goals.

Pioneer of Netfilx’s iconic company culture, Patty McCord, states, “If your company has a performance bonus plan, go up to a random employee and ask, ‘Do you know specifically what you should be doing right now to increase your bonus?’ If he or she can’t answer, the HR team isn’t making things as clear as they need to be.”

Everyone in your department or team should know exactly what will earn them those financial rewards. Transparency is key to ensuring that everyone understands which goals to strive for and how to earn rewards fairly. With a clear path towards rewards, this level of transparency can also reduce jealousy amongst teammates.

Organizations and departments with tighter budgets may have to do some rearranging to free up the cash flow required to financially reward top performers. One strategy is to poll coworkers and ask their opinion: would they rather have weekly company lunches or see that money go toward sporadic cash bonuses for top performers? Receiving feedback can guide your workplace’s recognition budget and ensure that coworkers feel like their voices are heard.

Verbal and Written Praise

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), employees may feel more committed to their organization if they believe that their efforts are valued. Amongst engaged employees, 63% are satisfied with their management’s recognition of employee job performance.

Ledgent Technology’s research has determined that all types of employees rank praise and recognition from their direct managers as important to their workplace satisfaction. Be sure to encourage all types of praise-based recognition such as:

  • Verbal recognition in a group setting like companywide or team meetings
  • Verbal praise from individual to individual
  • Written recognition via email, notes, or a recognition white board/leaderboard (either hung in the office or hosted online)

However, you do not need to pass around gold stars for every single action. Be sure to define the difference between responsibilities and accomplishments.

Nurture a culture of abundant recognition by promoting all forms of praise such as peer-to-peer, top-down, bottom-up, within teams, and across departments. Workplaces where coworkers are encouraged to praise and thank a fellow coworker often experience a self-sustaining cycle of praise and good deeds: coworkers go above and beyond to create remarkable experiences, another employee appreciates and recognizes that coworker’s efforts, and both employees are motivated to create more remarkable experiences that result in praise.

It seems so simple. Just give verbal and written praise. The truth is most employees do not receive genuine, thoughtful words of gratitude and appreciation at work. Only 10% of people say “thank you” to their colleagues on a given day, and 60% of people never express gratitude at work.

“I believe in saying ‘thank you’ daily, but making sure it is sincere,” says Accounting Director Kari Braun. “When an employee goes above and beyond, I leave them a handwritten thank you card that night so they have time to read it first thing the next morning, and I might slip in a small gift card… If we have to stay late, I buy them Starbucks and I remember what their favorite drink is.”

Compassionate Leadership

According to managers, the number one reason an employee leaves a position is pay. But according to employees, it’s the manager. If you want a workplace that is abundant in recognition, it begins with your leaders – all the way up to the top. Leaders set the tone for your entire organization. “I know that when I utter more words of recognition, it’s contagious,” says VP of Marketing Staci Johnson. “I hear peer-to-peer recognition increase as a result.”

Gratitude and recognition can create a ripple effect. Receiving a brief written expression of gratitude motivates individuals to assist not only the author of the card, but others as well. Make compassion and recognition key components in your leadership development training.

Leaders and managers should make recognition a part of their routine. Here is a sample “schedule” of how often and what type of personal recognition to give:

  • Monthly: Send a simple personal email of gratitude. Don’t be sappy, just a sincere “Thank You.
  • Bi-monthly: Hand write Thank You notes to team members
  • Semi-monthly: Mention publicly how fantastic an employee is
  • Annually: Send a hand-written card to their homes, unexpectedly, just to tell them you appreciate them

Here are three tools your managers need to be consistent and frequent with recognition:

  • AN EASY WAY to recognize great work

Online portals can be messy, experiment with quicker methods like physical “recognition dollars” that can be given to employees and retrieved for rewards.

  • KNOW what is appropriate

Define what deserves recognition and company and department goals. Make these visible and all employees aware of what they’re working towards. (Be sure to include cultural practices as well.)

  • A VARIETY of tools and ideas

Recognition is not one size fits all, some employees prefer public, verbal recognition, while others may prefer a personal and private nod. Be sure managers are equipped with various tools to recognize their team.

The Privilege of Recognition

A manager or organization shouldn’t give recognition just to increase engagement numbers. You should do it because it’s the right thing to do. Your employees are what keep your business thriving. Express that to them. “Recognition is a privilege of leadership,” says Novak. “Great leaders celebrate other people’s ideas even more than their own, and do it in a way that is real and from the heart.”

 

______________________________________________

About Ledgent Technology

Ledgent Technology specializes in the placement of full-time and contract professionals in roles ranging from IT support to software development. We are a division of Roth Staffing Companies, one of the largest privately-held staffing companies in the country, operating from more than 100 locations in 20 states and the District of Columbia via six specialized business lines: Ledgent TechnologyUltimate Staffing Services (the 11th largest office/clerical staffing company in the country), Ledgent Finance & Accounting, Adams & Martin Group (legal staffing), and affiliates Ultimate Locum Tenens and About Talent (a workforce solutions company).

Roth Staffing Companies stands as the only firm in the industry ever ranked #1 on the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing, privately-owned companies, and is the only one to receive all of the industry’s most prestigious honors in a single year, accomplishing this feat for two consecutive years.  The organization is consistently ranked among the 50 largest staffing companies in the country.

Culture Filter: Screening strategies and interviewing tips

A White Paper provided by Ledgent Technology & Engineering

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Short on time? Get a visual snapshot of Screening best practices with our INFOGRAPHIC.

 

“Recruiting” is what you do to get candidates in your door. “Screening” is what you do to determine which candidate should be offered the job. “Screening for culture” means dedicating more time determining whether their personality and strengths are the best fit for your organization. All positions require a certain set of skills and experience; that’s understood. However, dedicated and passionate candidates can be taught certain skills and processes, while you cannot teach candidates how to react to challenges or how to inspire others. Don’t pass over someone who is perfectly aligned with the core values of your company or team in favor of a shiny resume.

Now you just have to dedicate yourself to uncovering these traits by screening for culture fit. If you focused on “recruiting for culture,” then your job posting is getting a lot of attention. You not only clearly communicated the required hard skills and soft skills, but also proudly articulated your organization’s culture. The resumes are flooding in, and you’ve got some excellent candidates.

The downfall of many employers is measuring candidate excellence based on their resumes. You know that the purpose of an interview is to go past the resume and open the conversation, to focus on what kind of employee they are – and it can, but only if the conversation is structured right. You don’t want them to simply regurgitate their resume; you want to know what’s beyond the page.

Like so many things in life, it’s not what they’ve done; it’s how they did it. That “how” is what ultimately contributes to your company culture. And while skills, education, and experience are what move your business toward its goals and objectives, it is how your employees utilize them, along with their human traits, that make it a great place to work.

In his TEDtalk, Resumes are Bad for Business, John Fleischauer, senior member of Halogen Software’s talent acquisition team, warns about the transactional behaviors that resumes can illicit: “They speak to nothing but our past, and they tell nothing about our future.” Your candidates are not a checklist; they are dynamic beings and dynamic tech professionals. It is those dynamic traits that will support and build upon your culture.

The truth is, resumes are still a necessity. Your candidates have to be able to perform the tasks the position requires, but be prepared to dig deeper during the screening process and be willing to take a chance on the less than perfect resume. You shouldn’t be only concerned with what they are going to do in your business, but how they are going to do it.

 

Step by Step

While you may want to take your time to get to know your candidates in order to be confident in your selection, you may lose candidates due to a slowed system. The hiring process is taking nearly twice as long as it did a few years ago, and you cannot afford to lose top talent in today’s tight market. Your hiring process needs to be efficient and effective. At Ledgent Tecchnology, we’ve found that we lose most of our candidates if the interview isn’t scheduled immediately upon finding them.

During each stage of your screening process, it is key to keep candidates engaged. Placing a cultural emphasis and being genuinely interested in your candidates will keep them intrigued and patient.

However, it is still best to move along the process as quickly as possible. Mimi Taylor, Sr. VP of Roth Staffing and 2007 Private Company CFO of the Year, recommends investing time wisely: “Find a method for ensuring the skills and personality you need. Multiple interviews are still important, but try to complete the entire screening process in one longer appointment rather than multiple visits.”

Culture talk will keep the longer appointment lively, and break up the monotony of repeating past experience.

 

Prescreening

Your prescreening should also include a cultural element. Utilize web-based application systems like ProveIt that allow for a series of screening questions relevant to the job, and workplace culture – a lot of these questions start with “What would you do if…?” At Ledgent Technology, our prescreening technology includes questions like “Should work be fun?” or “Describe a great team leader.” Be sure whatever system you use or questions you ask are compliant with employment laws.

Try to keep the application screening relatively short. Nearly one-third of all candidates won’t spend more than 15 minutes filling out an online application.

Phone interviews require the same amount of cultural attention. Pepper in a few culture related questions and topics while you get to know your candidate as a professional and person.

 

Interview Stage

When looking for what you want, sometimes all you have to do is ask. 78% of HR professionals rated behavioral questions as effective to very effective when assessing culture fit of candidates.

Start by asking about them, beyond their professional life (there are some topics that are off limits, but ask about hobbies, volunteering, and special interests). This opportunity to talk about who they are away from the desk can give you some amazing insight. Simply put, the way you do anything is the way you do everything. If they don’t have any passions, how are they supposed to be passionate about their work or your company?

Do their eyes light up when they talk about their pet rabbit, then light up again when they talk about network engineering? Can their creative wizardry in the kitchen translate to creative app development? This will also help them feel more comfortable, so you can get a clearer picture of who they are. From there, continue with your basic interview questions (skills are still important), while weaving in questions that will help you assess culture fit:

  • What type of work culture do you thrive in?
  • What values are you drawn to and what’s your ideal workplace?
  • How would you describe our culture based on what you’ve seen? Is this something that works for you?
  • Tell me about a time when you worked with/for an organization where you felt you were not a strong culture fit. Why was it a bad fit?
  • What best practices would you bring with you from another organization? Do you see yourself being able to implement these best practices in our environment?
  • Tell me a story of when “xyz” went wrong [using a specific problem that is likely to happen in their area of expertise].
  • Why do you want to work here?

Also ask them about their job experience that may not relate to the position. For example, employees of the restaurant service organization Open Table all have some past experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry: programmers, IT specialists, HR representatives, everyone – even the CEO. This is a unique essential to their business since they create tools to be used in restaurants and hospitality, giving each employee a specialized insight to their services – one that can only come from that bus boy or waitress experience.

While your organization may not have previous industries that create a smooth transition to yours, non-technology related experience will still have a major effect on their current working styles. Again, the way you do anything is the way you do everything. If you have a candidate who was a successful nanny, they are likely to be trustworthy, detail oriented, and great multitaskers. After the initial interview be sure to contact reference and conduct background checks. Ask their references about previous culture fit.

 

Reminder: You are being interviewed too

This is also their opportunity to better understand you and your organization. They need to know if your company will be right for them. This is a candidate’s market, so you have to stand out against other companies they are interviewing with.

Incorporate their name often (just be sure to keep it organic without overkill). It’s a simple way to communicate interest and investment. This personalized touch will help you stand out from other organizations.

There are some that say our name is our favorite word, but hearing one’s own name also elicits a unique effect in the brain. Areas across the left hemisphere, including the middle frontal cortex, middle and superior temporal cortex, and cuneus, show increased activation – significantly more so than when hearing someone else’s name.

These are the same regions that are activated with self-recognition and reference. An interview is a process of self-recognition and self-reference, why not get that part of the brain up and going.

Extra bonus: the more you practice pairing the name with the face, the less likely you are to forget their name.

Make sure they are aware of any special programs or perks that are popular among your current employees. See what they think about your volunteer programs. Review the programs that make your workplace fun or unique and see what resonates with them. It not only gives them a chance to learn more about your organization but further allows you to see what excites them as you continue to look for that culture fit.

Be sure to introduce the candidates to your team and allow time for peer interviews. Watch them interact, not just on a professional level, but on a social level as well. If too many awkward silences creep in or they just don’t mesh, it might be time to move on to the next applicant.

Keep in mind that it is your responsibility as a leader to know when a potential employee will not be happy in your workplace. You may be dazzled by their years of experience and their proficiency with code, but you must set that aside for your team and the job seeker. Culture fit should be a top priority.

The hardest portion of the interview maybe when you realize that while one candidate is an amazing culture fit, they may be lacking in performance, and another is lacking in culture fit, but exceeding in performance. Many organizations make the mistake of hiring candidate #2, hoping that he will eventually mesh with the organization. However, candidate #1 is the best choice. You can teach skills, you cannot teach culture fit.

It will be much harder to make candidate #2 feel at home, and when employees don’t feel a strong connection with the organization’s mission, goals, or their teammates, they are more likely to leave.

In a survey of more than 200 HR professionals, 90% of respondents rated recruiting for cultural fit as “very important to essential.” Harmony between employee and organization is critical for individual and team success. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, turnover due to poor culture fit can cost you anywhere between 50-60% of that employee’s annual salary.

“When you know, you know,” says Mimi Taylor. “If they are just okay, move onto the next candidate – don’t settle for anyone less than excellent. Commit to only hiring the most talented and best culture fit – make this your hiring philosophy and stick to it… having a team filled with exceptional hires is worth it!”

You deserve a team you will enjoy, someone who loves your organization as much as you do; you just have to ask the right questions.

Sources: Forbes, Society for Human Resource Management, Development Dimensions International, Brain Research Journal, Business News Daily

 

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About Ledgent Technology & Engineering

Ledgent Technology & Engineering specializes in the placement of full-time and contract professionals in roles ranging from IT support to software development. We are a division of Roth Staffing Companies, one of the largest privately-held staffing companies in the country, operating from more than 100 locations in 20 states and the District of Columbia via six specialized business lines: Ledgent Technology & EngineeringUltimate Staffing Services (the 11th largest office/clerical staffing company in the country), Ledgent Finance & Accounting, Adams & Martin Group (legal staffing), and affiliates Ultimate Locum Tenens and About Talent (a workforce solutions company).

Roth Staffing Companies stands as the only firm in the industry ever ranked #1 on the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing, privately-owned companies, and is the only one to receive all of the industry’s most prestigious honors in a single year, accomplishing this feat for two consecutive years.  The organization is consistently ranked among the 50 largest staffing companies in the country.