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5 Ways to Improve Your Talent Attraction Strategy

Posted By Editor, Laurie, Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Contributed by Lindsay Stanton, Chief Client Officer, Digi-Me – HR West 18 Presenter

Nicholas Wyman, CEO of the Institute of Workplace Skills and Innovation, recently published an article with CNBC discussing the disconnect between the number of unemployed, underemployed and unfulfilled jobs in the US. He says that our nation is facing a “grave” problem.

Why is there a disconnect? There are not enough people with the practical skills that are required for the unfulfilled job openings. Wyman says, “It’s Time to Skill Up, America!” So now what?

For the first time in a long time, with low unemployment rates and rising hiring needs, we are faced with a candidate-driven market. Everyone is competing for top talent and passive job seekers are golden.

Here are 5 ways to improve your talent attraction strategy: Continue reading on the HR West Blog.

Tags:  employee  employee engagement  hiring costs  hiring strategy  hr  HR Leadership  HR Management  HR management training  HR West 2018  leader effectiveness  leadership  Recruiting  recruiting strategy  underemployed 

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4 Ways SMS Text Messaging Helps Human Resources

Posted By Editor Laurie, Thursday, March 23, 2017
Updated: Thursday, March 23, 2017

Business leaders are constantly struggling to find ways to communicate with their employees more effectively. Employee communication is tricky! You need to strike the perfect balance between ease of use and convenience for the employees. That’s why many HR departments are now looking at SMS text messaging to support communication goals.

Did you know that the open rate of all SMS messages is 98% and that the vast majority of which occur in less than 15 minutes? SMS is also extremely cost and time-effective. and offers terrific automation capabilities.

Here are four ways to leverage SMS text messaging to help your HR department run more efficiently:

1. Sending Company-Wide Messages

Communicating with all of your organization’s employees at the drop of a hat is critical for any Human Resources department. When a new product launches or inclement weather forces the closing of the office, everybody needs to know. SMS is the perfect venue for these notifications. Since the open rate is high and fast, you’ll know that it’s being read by everybody.

Because SMS is short and simple to use, you’ll be able to craft the messages quickly and get them out right away. In an emergency or high-pressure situation, those minutes will make all the difference.

2. Enhancing Your Wellness Program

A large number of employers are offering wellness programs, and even more plan to do so in the near future. Investing in a wellness program can make your employees healthier, happier, and more productive, all while driving healthcare costs down for you and your employees.

SMS offers a great way to enhance or jumpstart your wellness policy. You can use it to send out automated tips and strategies for living a healthy lifestyle to employees who opt-in on a daily or weekly basis. You could even provide them wearable fitness trackers and send them weekly updates on their activity levels.

3. Recruiting

Managing and communicating with potential recruits is an important HR task and a huge timesink.

Using mass SMS text messaging and shortcodes, however, you can automate a great deal of these processes. You can send out updates on postings they have shown
interest in, notify them of a new opening they could be interested in, or let them indicate any questions they might have.

You’ll also have instant access to your entire database of recruits whenever you want.

4. Employee Productivity

A big part of working in Human Resources is helping your company’s employees work more effectively. SMS messaging can do just that. Take scheduling and holding department meetings as an example. It’s often difficult to get everybody together for a meeting, especially when they’re working in different locations on different schedules.

You can leverage SMS messaging to send automatic meeting notifications and reminders, giving individuals the ability to notify their managers if they’re running late or will
miss the meeting altogether. Meetings become easier to manage and more productive, making everybody more efficient.

Are you using SMS text messaging to help your business out? Do you have any questions about how it can help your own business? Make sure to leave any questions or comments below!

Be sure to attend HR TechXpo (August 2017) to learn more about how HR continues to embrace technology and innovation.

Contributed by Sophorn Chhay

Sophorn is the marketing guy at Trumpia, the most complete SMS software with mass sms messaging, smart targeting and automation.
He’s worked with HR managers to help them develop internal communication strategies to streamline employee productivity.

Tags:  emplyee communication  engagement  HR innovation  HR management  recruiting 

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5 Tips to Attract the Right Culture Fit in 2017

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, January 4, 2017

5 Tips to Attract the Right Culture Fit

Contributed by LaSalle Network
Allison Penning, Branch Manager, LaSalle Network 
Register today
Allison will present:  The Grass Is Always Greener: Overhauling Your Recruiting Strategy
HR West 2017 10:50am  -  12:20pm Tuesday March 7th.






In LaSalle Network’s recently published white paper, the company surveyed over 6,000 professionals to gather insights about hiring trends and challenges.
They found second biggest challenge companies identified, just after finding skilled candidates, was hiring candidates who fit the culture.

It’s now more important than ever to make sure the right people are exposed to your brand and understand what it’s all about.
If you can attract the right people to apply for positions, it makes the hiring process a lot easier.
Here are 5 tips to do just that:

1. Inject the company personality into job descriptions

It’s the first impression. The companies that successfully find ways to express the company culture in their job postings are the ones that stand out.
Use words or phrases that will resonate with the type of person you’re trying to attract. Be clear with the job requirements and expectations,
but remember that generic job descriptions will often attract generic candidates.

2. Design a “work for us” web page that portrays your brand and culture

Make it exciting. Use images and quotes from real employees. Give candidates an authentic insight into what it’s like to work in your office.
There’s no better way to help someone understand your culture than people who are living it every day.

3. Encourage employees to share company social media posts

It shows high employee engagement, one of the defining characteristics of great companies.
It communicates that employees are proud of what the company is doing and excited to share it with their friends.
Who doesn’t want to work somewhere people are personally invested in the company’s success?

4. Create an employee referral program

Encourage your staff to recommend talent. Good people tend to know other good people.
Moreover, employees that work with friends are seven times more likely to engage fully in their work, according to Harvard Business Review.

5. Attend job fairs at universities

It’s a gold mine for up-and-coming talent and a great opportunity to showcase your brand.
Show students what’s authentic and unique to your company, and when it resonates, you’ll know you’re attracting the right person.

For more information on 2017 hiring trends and challenges, download the LaSalle Network white paper report here.

Tags:  HR  HR West 2017  recruiting  retention  talent acquisition 

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Winning The Talent War Demands Creative Hiring Strategies

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Wednesday, April 20, 2016


Your company may be suffering from a genuine talent shortage. It may be suffering from a flawed hiring process. It may be one or the other or even both, but the end result will be the same: Companies that can’t find creative ways to find the employees they need can’t grow. Business leaders who can win the talent war (and it is a war) will be able to say yes to new business opportunities while their talent-strapped competition will have to walk away.

One of the most competitive U.S. talent markets is the San Francisco metropolitan region, where unemployment has fallen to a 15-year low of 3.5%, down from 4.8% a year ago, according to preliminary March unemployment data. This is the lowest level since 2000, when unemployment stood at 3.3%. But many other U.S. regions run close behind, with 128 of 387 US metropolitan areas having unemployment rates of 5% or lower as of March 2015, making hiring strategy a critical issue for businesses.

One $400 million San Francisco Bay Area real estate related services company that has had record growth knows it needs seasoned client engagement managers with five to 10 years’ experience to keep growing. Yet the company has lost 20 managers in the past year to mega-customers and local technology giants that can offer higher salaries. And the service company’s HR department can’t find enough qualified candidates to replace the people who’ve left. Right now, the firm is preparing to turn down jobs to ensure it can continue to deliver high-quality work and avoid burning out its remaining workforce.

What’s the answer for a midsized company like this? Throwing money at the problem trashes the bottom line, and big companies have deeper pockets. Big companies can devote resources to brand and community building, shift talent between global locations, and even acquire companies to acquire their talent (as is often the case with Silicon Valley software startup acquisitions). Compared to a startup, a midsized company can’t offer the same lifestyle, perks, or equity opportunities.

You can and should focus on using well-known best practices in recruiting and retention. But as everyone gets smarter about talent, these tactics have a diminishing return. Social media tools such as LinkedIn provide great help with recruiting, but also make your in-demand employees highly visible to competitors. Midsized companies also frequently lose top employees to their own customers, who learn first-hand how valuable those people are.

The talent war is brutal.

Finding New Faces In New Places
These hiring challenges will not ease anytime soon. It’s time to stop complaining about how you can’t find the right people and start expanding the profile of your workforce.  Rethink traditional ideas about your employees’ ages, histories and locations. You also should tweak work roles and processes as needed, create a differentiated workplace, and update the mix of non-monetary benefits you provide.

For example, you could start building relationships with potential employees right now – even with youngsters. Consider the experience of Dublin High School, located in a bedroom community outside San Francisco. It started an Engineering Academy and is actively seeking mentors from local businesses. There is plenty of room for companies to connect with tomorrow’s recruits, says Coordinator Eugene Chou.

“Every student in our program knows who the big companies are — Google, Facebook, Twitter, Chevron, IBM, HP — but most students only know them because they are widely advertised with little idea of how their career interests would really align to that company,” Chou says. “Students need to be exposed to more possibilities and understand that other companies can potentially provide them greater experiences for growth.”

Of course, your company also needs to look at age groups that are in or ready to join the workforce. Companies that struggle to find new grads may be able to find success building relationships with slightly older job seekers, offering stability for those who know that the prestige of working for big companies has its downsides, or flexibility for those who seek to avoid a “face time” culture.

Some companies target populations not destined for four-year colleges, such as trade school students. Others recruit post-high school graduates not in college, veterans, and people with learning disabilities. Microsoft launched a 2015 pilot program to hire people with autism who may want to do software development work.

On another front, maybe the way your company structures jobs is making it needlessly difficult to fill those roles. Could you dis-aggregate complex jobs, breaking them apart into several roles that allow for faster learning curves? For example, one manager, unable to recruit an employee with 10 years’ experience, instead hired a recent high school graduate and trained him to do simple tasks for three veteran employees, freeing them up to tackle the work of the unfilled position.

Finally, if you can’t offer the cool factor or equity rewards of a startup, consider the life experiences you can deliver – such as relocation, travel and accelerated career paths.

There are different ways to skin the talent acquisition cat.

Genesys, an $850 million developer of omnichannel customer experience (CX) and contact center solutions, headquartered in Daly City, Calif., and subject to the fierce San Francisco talent wars, was seeing it’s time to hire stretch beyond desired limits. The company’s traditional hiring approach was to recruit senior candidates for most roles and search within the competitive talent pool. Well, that wasn’t working well enough. It proved costly, and the lengthening time-to-hire hampered the company’s ability to move into new sectors.

So Merijn te Booij, Executive Vice President of Product and Solution Strategy at Genesys, worked with his HR partner to take a different approach. “Given the shortage of talent, our expectation that the shortage will persist, and considering our growth trajectory, we’ve invested in a long-term, sustainable solution,” said te Booij. “Now, we are networking to create pools of potential employees who have a connection and relationship with us.“

In the new strategy, Merijn and his team use a proactive approach and generated and maintains a large talent pool with which they stay connected. That allows the recruiting team to quickly fill open positions. Recently, Merijn had an opening for a senior role that required a rare skill and, after looking at candidates he already had a relationship with, he was able to recruit an ideal candidate within one month.

Genesys also created an associate program hiring recent college graduates. The company recruits from many colleges in the U.S. and abroad, selecting for motivation, drive and creativity. It’s a broader definition of talent than GPA alone. While the company prefers students with an engineering or technical focus, it also considers other educational backgrounds that help create a diverse and multi-talented workforce. In addition to recent graduates, Genesys also hires more experienced candidates looking to reboot their career and start fresh in new roles.

Since 2014, nearly 70 associates have emerged across the globe from this relatively untapped talent pool. Each associate works at headquarters for a rigorous three-week training program, followed by an extended period with a mentor. To date, four classes of associates have graduated, including most recently a global group drawn from Africa, Korea, Malaysia, South America and the U.S.  In conjunction with this program the company has also welcomed 138 interns globally across various departments that include marketing, R&D, finance, and sales operations.

Knowing that hiring challenges will persist, Genesys also kicked off a high school program in early 2015 to introduce students to the company as a way to provide continued support to young students. During a two-hour event designed as an entertaining experience, students engaged with their customer experience software and provided valuable feedback. Ideally the company’s approach is to connect with participating high school students throughout college, maintaining close relationships, bringing them on as interns and potentially hiring them when they graduate.

In 2014, during a competitive employment market, Genesys was able to substantially fill more positions while significantly cutting the time to hire. Company-wide, the average time to hire has fallen to 50 days in 2014, from 100 days in 2013. On top of a sustainable proactive recruiting process, the company is more successful in hiring simply because they are a great place to work. Genesys won a “Top 50 Best Places to Work in 2015” award by Glassdoor.

Creative Solutions
If these approaches sound like more work, you’re right. They also involve new costs. But compared to unbridled wage inflation, programs like these are less expensive, sustainable and scalable.

If your company needs to reshape job roles, that will also take elbow grease and smart planning. Find a progressive team in the organization and let them test some new roles and showcase their success. Remember: If a slot for an experienced manager sits empty too long, you risk burning out and losing the remaining managers on that team. That’s double trouble.

Your HR team can’t lead this level of hiring change alone. HR must partner with business unit leaders. You may also need to bring in a more strategic HR leader.

Smart companies know there is no quick win in the talent war.  But when a company’s growth slows, it’s like handing cash to the competition. Start building creative mechanisms today to acquire the talent you will need to grow tomorrow.

About the Author

Tags:  CEO to CEO  HR  human resources innovation  management fundamentals  NCHRA  recruiting  Robert Sher  talent acquisition 

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5 millennial-retention tips to win hearts, engage minds

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Contributed by Nicole Smartt
Reprinted with permission from North Bay Business Journal, where it appeared Feb. 12.

By 2020, about half of the U.S. workforce will be part of the generation that values helping people in need over a huge salary; that actually do care about a company’s mission; that praise and deeply appreciate flexibility.

At first blush, this seemingly major shift in how an individual’s values are expressed at work, it can feel daunting to connect with this generation. Here are five things to think about that can help you attract, and actually retain, these incredibly powerful people.


More than many generations before them, millennials have high expectations when it comes to doing what you say you’re going to do, and won’t take it well if you don’t walk your talk. Though it seemed a few years back that millennials might be known in posterity as lazy, disengaged non-workers, it’s clearer now more than ever that this major workforce constituent is hard-working, intelligent, creative and informed. Use this to your advantage by clearly stating your vision, and allowing millennial employees to help you get there.


I think one of the most unique things about the millennial generation is the sudden absence of reliance on an existing value structure. Sure, many of these individuals grew up in homes with strong moral compasses, varied spiritual or religious structures, and the benefit of their parents’ experiences.

But this generation is the first to have total unfettered access to the world’s information. They are more empowered than any modern generation before them to become informed on their own terms, to go find what makes sense to them in the world, and to pursue whatever meaningful acts that call to them. If they are going to be willing to show up to an interview, or keep showing up to work, you’d best be ready to let them see the impact they make.


Creative, flexible, and often multi-talented, millennials (and many other young people before them) are powerhouses of innovation, fresh ideas, and elegant solutions. Cultivate a workspace that invites collaboration that visibly values contributions of both ideas and work. Put a strong, solid mission in place, but listen to their input.


Let’s face it: lots of bureaucracy is pretty suspicious looking from the outside. It doesn’t foster fealty, it doesn’t improve productivity, and it’s unnecessarily confusing. It’s a cargo carrier in a world of speed boats.

I’m not suggesting that you abandon structure of all kinds, and ban regular work hours or encourage your employees to come in their pajamas. But does that form really need to be hand-filled in triplicate?

If you run into bureaucratic structures you just can’t get rid of, take the time to explain why the structure exists, what value it brings or what problems it helps to avoid. Trim all of the unnecessary form filling and eye-crossing procedures you’re able to. Bonus: doing this will likely increase overall productivity, save costs, and contribute to an overall mood lift for your company.


It’s not just about personal growth. Some experts claim that it’s very important to millennials to feel they are progressing in their careers, and though I find that kind of generalization a little arbitrary, I do think that it’s important for individuals in any company to feel like they aren’t stuck.

Find out what matters to each employee. If they want to be vice president of a company one day, give them opportunities to learn valuable skills that make them more prepared for that position. Consider promoting in smaller steps than traditional company structures, but don’t make those distinctions arbitrary and functionally meaningless. Make each transition mean something: give them a bit more responsibility; charge them with learning a new skill that also adds value to your company’s bottom line.


Be careful with words like “potential” when you’re talking about young professionals. Remember that American millennials have had essentially the world’s knowledge at their fingertips their whole lives.

Here’s an example: They may not have had two years of trade school to learn how to refinish furniture, but they had YouTube. Though sometimes this learning on the go model leads to holes in knowledge, where they know that they need to perform a task a certain way, but not why, in the bulk of potential situations their skills are real. Their experiences are valuable. They might not have any sales experience, but if they’re passionate, well researched, approachable and dauntless, their age shouldn’t be the thing that keeps them out.

When you consider attracting and keeping millennials, there’s one sure-fire way you will retain them: ask them. A little bit of collaboration will go a long way.

 About the Author
Nicole Smartt is co-owner of Petaluma-based Star Staffing, ranked as one of the fastest-growing companies in America by Inc. magazine. As a business and career advice expert, Smartt has been featured in Forbes, The Washington Post, Fox Business and Wall Street Journal. Her new book, From Receptionist to Boss, is coming soon (in 2016).


Tags:  hr  HR management  human resources  leadership  millennial-retention  recruiting  u.s. workforce 

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