The national average of time to fill an open position in June reached 24.9 working days, including the time to post, source, and hire. Compared to the recessionary period in the summer of 2009, the time to fill has increased by nearly ten days, when the average was 15.3.
During the recession the talent pool was overflowing with applicants. Hundreds of résumés flooded recruiters in response to a single job posting. The response left recruiters thinking they could be choosy and wait for the top talent to show, which generally during the recession worked. Now, other problems are factoring in to the long time-to-fill open positions, such as:
- Waiting too long to make an offer risks the loss of the top candidate.
- Unable to find skilled workers in the talent pool.
- Expecting no learning curve, thus fostering an unwillingness to accept candidates that may need only minimal training.
- There is simply more job openings, 4.7 million at the end of June, compared to 4 million in June, 2013.
Employers should examine recruitment and hiring processes to ensure they are streamlined and efficient and make changes wherever they find obstacles. Performing this self-audit will clearly define the company’s acceptable standards for recruitment and hiring and will help find and hire a solid, talented workforce quickly.
Source: Zappe, John. “Employers Find That Time-to-Fill Job Rates Are Growing, Hit 13 Year High.” Available here.
Home furnishings retailer, Ikea, recently announced an overhaul to their wage structure that will increase their average minimum wage to $10.76 per hour by January 1, 2015, which is a 17 percent increase, and is well above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. The increase will not be adjusted across the board, but will be a market-based adjustment from $8.69 per hour to $13.22 per hour depending on the cost of living in the city in which the store is located. Ikea estimates that about half of its United States workforce will benefit by the increase which will be based on the MIT Living Wage Calculator.
Rob Olson, Ikea’s acting president for the United States and its chief financial officer was quoted as saying, “We are of course investing in our co-workers. We believe they will invest in our customers, and they will invest in Ikea’s stores. We believe that it will be a win-win-win for our co-workers, our customers and our stores.” Ikea’s goal is to promote a “better everyday life” for their people.
Gap is another retailer that will be increasing its minimum wage to $10 per hour January 1. This specialty retailer had set its minimum wage at $9 per hour in February. Their new wage policy will benefit more than two-thirds of its 90,000 U.S. employees. Gap reported more than a 10 percent increase in their applications for employment after they announced the increases.
Both retailers have a great desire to help their workers, and even though the minimum wage increases are a large investment, it is one they feel will help them reach their organizational goals and have a positive impact on the bottom line.
Source: Greenhouse, Steven. The New York Times. “Ikea to increase Minimum Hourly Pay.” Available here.
As HR professionals, we are always trying to make sure everyone is treated the same – that no one feels slighted or left out; that everyone is treated equally. In certain instances that is a really good idea, especially if it keeps you out of legal trouble, (e.g. male/female, old/young, black/white). But, are our HR practices becoming a one-size-fits-all?
Let’s take a step back. Examining our motive for treating all employees the same should give us some insight as to whether this is a constructive practice. Ask yourself these questions and answer honestly:
- Am I afraid of a claim of discrimination or retaliation?
- Am I trying to avoid conflict by applying policies the same way to all employees?
- Am I ignoring an underlying employee performance issue that needs to be addressed?
- Is treating all employees the same taking the easy way out?
If you answered, “Yes” to any of these questions, you may be practicing HR neutrality. Obviously, some policies must be applied the same way to all employees, like no smoking in the office. But, must our top performers be treated the same as our mediocre or low performers? No, but we must treat them fairly. In fact, our treating employees fairly sometimes mean we treat them differently. How? A high performing employee doesn’t want to be treated the same as one they view as a slacker. They want to be treated differently, because they deserve it. There is nothing illegal about treating a high performer better than you treat your employee that is not meeting your expectations. So next time you encounter a situation that previously the one-size-fits-all HR neutrality has been applied to, examine your motive for doing so, use empathy by putting yourself in your employee’s shoes, and always keep the human in Human Resources. Oh yes, and you must deal head-on with the perceived slacker; they may just need clearer expectations, but you won’t know if you don’t ask!
Source: Sackett, Tim. “HR Neutrality: Everybody Seems to Hate It – Except, of Course, HR.” Available here.
Raise your hand if you think there are entirely too many meetings in your office! You can put your hands down now. Why do we feel this way? Because many times, meetings become so routine that the focus is completely lost on why the meeting is being held and what it is supposed to accomplish. Let’s face it, sometimes meetings are just simply time wasters!
To avoid having mechanical meetings, we have to plan better. Following these tips will help re-engage and to re-focus your attendees so that meetings add value and achieve a specific goal.
- Create an agenda – Agendas set the rules for the meeting and answer critical questions. Who (should attend)? What (is the topic)? Why (are we meeting)? Where (will we meet)? When (will we meet? How (are we to prepare)?
- Stay on track – Keep the goal of the meeting at the forefront and steer the discussion back to the agenda as needed. If the meeting is scheduled for 30 minutes, then end it promptly.
- Limit attendees – Invite only those individuals that need to be there. Don’t waste others’ time, unless they are critical to the mission.
- Summarize the meeting – Follow up the meeting with an email detailing the project, timelines, and assignments. Make yourself available and hold employees accountable for reaching the goal. Inform the attendees if additional meetings will be necessary.
Giving meetings focus will help you and your team to accomplish much more in less time.
For numerous years we have been told that multitasking is an asset. As employers, we weren’t looking for singularly focused individuals, but those who could change gears quickly. Multitasking was the answer to efficiency needs and time management skills.
Workers today have computers, tablets, smartphones, and many other distractions that were supposed to help them be more accessible and productive. But, what does multitasking really accomplish? It is reported that multitasking can be synonymous with timewasting. Those who multitask spend “25 percent to 40 percent more time than people who focus on tasks individually.” Looking busy has always been an admirable trait, but high producers outpace “Busy” dramatically, and are far more valuable to keep on your team.
Here are a few tips to achieve multitasking freedom. Come on, you can do it!
- Start small – by setting aside 20 minutes to devote solely on one project. Repeat for the next project, and the next.
- Be scheduled – and set a specific time for each project or task to take control of your day.
- No bells or buzzers allowed – during the scheduled work time, so turn off the email!
- Shhhhhh – people are working, so try to be respectful of their work time and seek a quiet place to work, so you can accomplish your scheduled task.
- De-clutter – your workspace. A cluttered workspace makes concentrating on your work very difficult. Cluttered workspace = cluttered mind?
- Work – during your work hours and save the personal stuff for breaks and lunch periods.
If any of the above tips will throw you into shock, just dip your toe in the water before you dive in!
Source: Zacharias, Anne. The Business Journals. “6 Tips to Become More Productive by AVOIDING Multitasking.” Available here.
Wouldn’t it be great if everyone said and did the right thing all the time and no one’s feelings ever got hurt? That would be a perfect world, of which we know we do not live in, but one can wish! Ensuring that employees practice civility in the workplace is a progressive activity. Civility means to be courteous; polite. It doesn’t sound that difficult to be nice, but because of various negative factors, we sometimes digress. Following are some tips for resisting bad manners and encouraging civility in the workplace:
- Personality conflicts – I always tell a group of new hires that we have (e.g. 100) employees, which means that we have 100 different personalities with 100 different ideas. Some personalities are drawn to each other, while others repel. Keeping the peace through personality conflicts is a challenge, but can be done. Empathetically putting oneself in the other person’s “shoes” will help them to see the conflict in a completely different light.
- Holding your tongue – Being aware of comments or phrases that may be common, but hurtful to some, is especially important to show respect for others. Comments like, “Her elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top,” or “He must ride the short bus,” are completely unnecessary and are very insensitive. Look for the good in others and focus on their strengths.
- Lead by example – Instill in employees to do their part to lead by example. Random acts of kindness and sincere compliments of a “job well done,” are encouraging speech and not speech that tears down.
To summarize, incivility is degrading to all who are affected by it, regardless of whether it is directed at them or whether they are a witness to its harm. When incivility reigns, it can quickly turn into a claim of harassment or a hostile work environment. Train your employees to be respectful of others, and to look for positive qualities in them too. Someday, they themselves, could be the victim, and what a lonely place that would be! Teaching employees to be aware of and think about the effects of what they say or do, will certainly help them to be more thoughtful and considerate workmates.
A few months ago, Zappos, an online shoe retailer, announced it was restructuring its workforce into “circles” eliminating hierarchy by having no job titles and no managers. This type of structure is known as a “holacracy.” Within a holacracy, leadership still exists. What it does is distribute leadership into each role, holding employees personally accountable, and rotating leadership among those in the circle. This is definitely not a traditional organizational structure!
Now, Zappos is making another unique change – eliminating job postings. The retailer plans to hire about 450 workers this year. Though Zappos will be using social media, it is not what you may think! They have created Zappos Insiders, a social network that candidates can join and become acquainted with current employees of the company. The theory behind this method is to allow recruiters to be more efficient and effective by creating a constant pool of candidates that could be ready-made hires. Recruiters can gauge cultural fit and skills of the candidates by asking specific questions and holding contests then using a separate software to organize the responses. So, not only are job postings gone, but so are the plethora of resumes’ to wade through!
It will be interesting to see how this cutting-edge practice evolves and if other organizations will follow suit. But, we in HR always have questions:
- Will a social network glean more personal information about candidates than a company needs?
- Will it help Zappos avoid costly bad hires?
- Will candidates grow tired of waiting to be selected?
Before you try to walk a mile in Zappos shoes (eliminate job postings in your company) you may want to just curiously watch the success of Zappos in pioneering this new trend!
Source: Auriemma, Adam. The Wall Street Journal. “Zappos Zaps Its Job Postings.” Available here.
Some workplaces have begun encouraging employees to BYOD, “Bring Your Own Device” to work. The use of smartphones and tablets are common and necessary in most businesses to enhance accessibility and communication. BYOD, the practice of employees using their own mobile electronic devices for both personal and business purposes, has become more accepted as the workforce evolves into a more technologically advanced age. With this new practice comes new risk.
One such area for BYOD workplaces, is making the connection of acceptable use of such mobile devices and driving safely. The fact cannot be overlooked that distracted driving is at epidemic levels, much of it due to the use of electronic devices while driving. Implementing a BYOD/distracted driving policy should reflect in part, that regardless of ownership of the device, employee or employer, certain restrictions shall apply such as:
- Prohibiting the use of a hand-held device while operating a motor vehicle, to include answering and making phone calls; reading and responding to email; sending or receiving texts;
- Requiring employees to drive to a safe place to park the motor vehicle to use a cell phone or other mobile device;
- Changing voicemail greetings to inform callers that the phone will not be answered nor will messages/calls be returned while the employee is driving.
It is noteworthy, that just because an employee is using their personal device, an employer can still be liable for an employee’s distracted driving that has fatal consequences.
Having a policy is a great start, but it needs to be enforceable. The policy should be clearly stated so that it is not difficult for the average employee to follow, nor should an employee be punished for not answering the boss’s call immediately while driving!
Sources: DiBianca, Molly. “The Role of a Distracted-Driving Policy in a BYOD Workplace.” Available here.
Did you know? You can dress for warm weather without breaking your organization’s dress code.
With the warm weather rapidly approaching you may be tempted to whip out those crop tops, short shorts and flip flops – DON’T! You can dress stylish and still be within dress code. Instead of a halter or crop top, opt for a breezy tank covering the shoulders or short sleeve top. Instead of shorts, capri pants or a skirt can be just as cooling. As for the men, khakis and a nice cotton dress shirt go much farther in the workplace than a pair of gym shorts and your favorite t-shirt.
There are numerous ways to dress comfortably without offending your coworkers and management. There is nothing worse than trying to keep that “too short” skirt pulled down or the far too small top in place, you know the one I am talking about. And, while your undergarments may be in the height of fashion, they should not be seen by your neighbor in the next cube. Don’t be “the one” in the office that everyone is thinking to themselves “I can’t believe she/he wore that to work!” We have all seen and privately thought that before. The best rule to remember this summer is, dress for the body you have, not the body you want! I’m just saying…
If you need help with your dress code policy or any of your other employment policies, HRN can help!! Contact one of our consultants here.
Positive, Reliable, Respectful, Grateful, Professional. No, this is not a list on how to flatter your boss, but rather what your boss is looking for in employees. These are soft skills – those intrinsic skills that generally are not something you can teach, but are part of an individual’s personality. CareerBuilder.com conducted a survey recently that reported that “16 percent of employers said soft skills are more important than hard skills when evaluating candidates for a job.” This translates to the fact that not only are your experience and knowledge important and needed, but that personality matters!
Here are the top ten most popular soft skills according to the survey:
- Candidate has a strong work ethic – 73 percent
- Candidate is dependable – 73 percent
- Candidate has a positive attitude – 72 percent
- Candidate is self-motivated – 66 percent
- Candidate is team-oriented – 60 percent
- Candidate is organized, can manage multiple priorities – 57 percent
- Candidate works well under pressure – 57 percent
- Candidate is an effective communicator – 56 percent
- Candidate is flexible – 51 percent
- Candidate is confident – 46 percent
Analyzing the list above reveals many desirous qualities that contribute to the successful operations of an organization. Many individuals who simply list their soft skills, but who don’t actually demonstrate them with examples in an interview, will fail to get the job. Soft skills can be honed only by the employee/applicant. An employer can teach an employee to perform a task, but cannot teach them to have a great personality!