Tuesday, September 6, 2011

HR Advantages of Targeting Gen Y (Guest Blog)

Generation Y is having a major impact on today’s workforce. People of this generation – those born between 1977 and 1994 – have grown up with technology and are accustomed to being digitally connected around the clock. Their skills are unique, but may also present some potential workplace challenges for employers. Given the right work environment, a clear job description and plenty of opportunity to be creative, Gen Y workers can be an excellent addition to any company’s workforce.

Strengths of Gen Y
  • This is the first generation to have grown up with the internet, so most Gen Y-ers are comfortable with technology. Gen Y can often embrace changes quickly and without anxiety. They can navigate social media easily and are often enthusiastic about sharing this knowledge with older colleagues.
  • Gen Y is accustomed to using several types of technology at once, since many have been multitasking from a young age. Most are capable of handling several tasks at once without feeling overwhelmed.
  • For many Gen Y members, personal achievement is a great source of motivation. They are often adept at creating and working towards their own as well as their company’s goals. Gen Y tends to be confident in their strengths and abilities.
  • Generation Y is also community oriented. Most have logged many community service hours during their high school and college years, making volunteering and serving others a part of their skill set.
  • Often, employers will discover that their Gen Y workers love a good challenge. Many will embrace a competitive environment and difficult assignments that come their way.
How to Target Generation Y
  • Clear expectations and specific feedback work well with Gen Y-ers. They are usually open to learning from their mistakes and are willing to accept constructive criticism as an opportunity to learn and advance in their career.
  • Gen Y workers want to use technology, social media and digital opportunities at work. Employers should be willing to embrace the use of technology and take advantage of this knowledge. Allowing Gen Y workers to access technology can allow them to work more efficiently.
  • Companies should consider adding more social events and fun to the calendar. Gen Y members love to work and play, so by expanding the company’s culture, employers are even more likely to attract the younger generation.
  • Another way to draw younger employees is to adjust certain policies, such as the dress code, scheduling and work space. Even if it is not possible to cater to all of these things, a little flexibility can go a long way when it comes to targeting Gen Y!
Companies certainly don’t need to turn everything upside down in order to cater to potential Generation Y workers. However, in order to get the most of Gen Y’s unique talents and potential long-term commitment, employers do need to understand and acknowledge some of the more marked differences in this generation. Small gestures that let Gen Y-ers know employers value their contributions and ideas will be richly rewarded.

This article was sent in by University Alliance and submitted on behalf of Villanova University’s online programs. Villanova offers an online masters in human resources degree program in addition to HR certification courses. For more information please visit http://www.villanovau.com.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ignore Toxic Co-Workers

There comes a point in everyone's career when the they have the distinct pleasure of working with someone they just can't stand.  You know, the person who always thinks the company is trying to screw them over, or thinks their work is the only work that matters, or constantly complains about having too much to do.  It's the same person that spends a good portion of their time surfing the web for personal matters, while complaining that the company doesn't pay them enough.  Yet, this person could never pull a similar salary at any other company.  You get the point.  Ultimately, this person's constant complaining about the company begins to bring all others around them down, or in worst cases, gets them to join the complaint bandwagon.

Having worked with a number of these individuals, I have come up with a simple solution to not letting these folks harsh your mellow.  Friggin' ignore them!  Being in HR, I sometimes have to grin and bear it when dealing with employees that demonstrates these wonderful characteristics.  I must admit, in the back of my mind, I really want to say "just quit!".  However, if I followed through on my initial instinct, I would be out of a job.  But, boy it would sure be fun to say at least once.  However, when it comes to dealing with toxic co-workers, I've developed a barrier which prevents The Toxic Avenger from bringing me down.  It took some time to develop, but after some reflection upon how the behavior was affecting me negatively, I had to change.  I didn't over think it.  I didn't do a ton of research on the subject.  I essentially decided to implement the simplest approach to the problem.

I assure you, I ignore these individuals with the utmost professionalism.  I don't let it affect my potential future dealings with these people.  I simply listen to what they have to say, understand it what they're trying to do (poison my attitude), and move on.  It's easier said than done, but when you are able to master this skill set (and I truly believe it is a skill set), you'll feel like you just squashed a pig, a la Angry Birds.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Counter-Offer...Don't Do It!

I've never been a proponent of counter-offers, in fact, I believe in 99% of the cases, they are a waste of time (and sometimes money). Yet, I consistently find myself debating managers about extending counter-offers to employees that have submitted their resignations. Even after my counsel as to why it's a bad idea, they still insist on making an effort to keep the individual onboard.

Here's why I'm not in a favor of counter-offers:

1. The employee has already mentally checked out
Think about it. This individual has already gone through the process of exploring a new opportunity, been through an interviewing process, has received an offer that they feel is better than what they have now and has made the decision to move on. That's quite a bit of time and commitment by this individual and a huge life decision. Clearly the emotional needs, and perhaps financial needs, are not being met in the current role. Convincing someone their emotional needs can be met all of the sudden, is a daunting task. Don't bother.

2. It sends a bad precedent
Extending a counter-offer opens up the "flood gates" to other current, valued employees in being able to leverage themselves. Perhaps they will be made aware of what the counter-offer was and will now be expecting the same. Also, they may begin seeking employment elsewhere with the hopes of leveraging an offer against a potential counter-offer. If they are "C" players, no problem, let them go. But be very careful about the message this sends to your "A" and "B" players.

3. Sometimes you just have to let them go
Sometimes managers just need to realize the company can't offer the same opportunity as the new employer. Whether it be title, salary, benefits or location...there will always be an organization out there that is willing to offer more for a skill set than you can.

4. Those that accept, will be back
Research will show you that even if you're able to successfully retain an employee via the counter-offer, they'll be back in six months asking for more, or will end up just leaving. The big questions is: Did you get a ROI on the salary increase you gave this employee for the past six months? In most cases, the answer will be no.

5. Why now?
In conducing exit interviews with individuals that have received counter-offers, the most common theme I hear is "Why weren't you willing to do this before I resigned?" Therein lies the root of the problem. Clearly the ball was dropped by the manager and/or HR in determining the value of the individual to the organization. If mangers or HR are not routinely keeping a pulse on the market, then there is no reason for surprise when attrition rates begin to increase.

There are always going to be exceptions to the rule. I get that. However, in most of the cases that I've been involved, we haven't been able to come close to what was offered. Managers need to understand that attrition is going to happen, whether they like it or not, and letting go is not always a bad thing.

The "grass in not always greener", right? Sometimes, it is.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Where It's At....LinkedIn, Baby!

It's been awhile since I've made a blog entry, primarily because my workload role has increased significantly, not to mention my oldest son began kindergarten in September. The good news is that the aforementioned workload has much to do with an increase in hiring taking place with my employer. Traditionally, the fourth quarter is a time when things tend to settle down, and the belts begin to tighten. Not this year my friends! Ladies and gentlemen, this is good news!

For Recruiters
The increase in hiring is validating the turn around (albeit slow) of the economy. I now find myself not only having to handle a larger recruitment deck, it's also becoming increasingly difficult to find candidates with the specialized skill sets my positions require. By the nature of my role, I recruit for positions throughout the U.S. and Canada. Being based in the Southeast Michigan area adds additional challenges to finding qualified candidates from coast to coast. A quick bit of soul searching lead me to the foregone conclusion that I needed to step up my game, and quickly. Recruiting is only a small piece of my overall responsibility, so I needed to find an effective method that would best utilize my time. LinkedIn quickly became the answer.

A standard account on LinkedIn is great. You can still get creative in identifying candidates for vacant positions, while focusing on specific specialties and skill sets. However, you will definitely get a huge ROI on your investment if you upgrade your account to Business Plus ($499), when used effectively. For example, by utilizing the advanced people search, I was able to identify and hire quality candidates in the Los Angeles and Portland markets. Neither of these individuals were considered active job seekers. However, by utilizing the In-Mail feature, I was able to send each a message informing them of our opportunities, letting them know how great my company is to work for and letting them know they could contact me if they had interest. They did, and the rest is history.

For Job Seekers
Folks, you've got to get your LinkedIn profile in immaculate shape. More and more, LinkedIn is the primary, if not the only, destination for recruiters seeking candidates. Posting your resume to positions on Monster and CareerBuilder, waiting for a response, and then getting mad when you don't hear from any of the employers, must cease. On LinkedIn, you can find employers, or contacts at employers of interest, just as easy as they can find you. Join as many relevant groups as possible, as each of these groups has a job board. Just as a point of reference, I have yet to spend a dime on the "big job boards" this year and haven't missed a beat. LinkedIn is where it's at! I post 95% of my opportunities on the group job boards.

You should take as much time building your profile on LinkedIn, as you do on writing/updating your resume. In fact, I would spend more time on the LinkedIn piece. Build that network, participate in discussions and be obsessive about keeping your profile up to date. I promise, you will reap positive results from your actions. I recommend putting a link to your LinkedIn profile on your resume. Recruiters are going to look there anyway to get more information about you. Why not make it easier for them to see what you're made of? Additionally, I believe that having less than 100 (relevant) connections on LinkedIn is unacceptable. If this you, there is some work to be done. Network! Network! Network!

As I've mentioned several times, recruiters won't contact you unless you can successfully differentiate yourself from the masses. LinkedIn can help you do this. Perhaps, someone will contact you about a dream job you had no idea was even out there. That's what I'm talking about!

......and just for the record, I do not work for LinkedIn. :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Interview No Call/No Show - WTH?

Perhaps it's the sign of the economy turning around, perhaps it's a sign of ignorance by the candidates. Within the past week, I've had two no call/no shows for job interviews. Now these aren't entry-level, mind numbing positions. I'm talking about excellent sales opportunities which include a company vehicle, a competitive salary and the opportunity to make some serious coin in commissions. Granted both individuals we're employed, but that's no excuse. In my opinion, not showing up for an interview is a form of career suicide. Candidates need to understand that industry circles are smaller than they may think, and applicant tracking systems don't forget. However, I do appreciate the fact that I didn't have to waste an hour of my time speaking to a deadbeat.

If you are currently seeking employment, never...never....never do this! My vent is over, carry on.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Do you want to know you're not being considered now, or do you want me to wait a little bit to let you know?

As somewhat of a follow-up to my previous post, I recently found myself wondering what the appropriate length of time should be for letting a job candidate know they are no longer being considered for the position. Each morning, I plug through my applicant tracking system and begin the process of reviewing candidate profiles, most of which are not qualified for the respective positions. At that point, I choose the appropriate disposition code for those not chosen. Here's where the dilemma lies...if a candidate applied for a position the night before, is it appropriate to send them a notice the following morning letting them know that are no longer being considered? Sometimes the notice would be going to them within 12 hours of them applying. Other times, it may be even less. Let me assure you, I do a thorough review of the candidates' qualifications/backgrounds before making the determination, so I'm confident my decisions are sound. Additionally, I pride myself in communicating with candidates, regardless of the decision.

The main struggle exists with trying to keep my ATS clean and organized (managing several positions), while leaving the "not chosen" candidates with a positive candidate experience. The bottom line is, they are not going to be considered for employment, so why wait to tell them? Yet, I get a sense that this may turn off the candidate, as they may be thinking that there is no way I have had the time to review their information (I swear I have!). Having been through job searches as a candidate, I personally wouldn't care how long it took for a decision to be made, I just want to be notified. I guess it's the minimalist in me that's creating this dilemma. What to do?...What to do?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Don't Forget The Drug Test

Recently, I read a blog article about how schools need to do a better job in preparing college graduates for interviews. The blog article cited examples of job candidates showing up for interviews dressed poorly, knowing very little information about the company and asking odd questions.

I too have seen some examples of this, but for the most part the recent graduates I've spoken to have been prepared pretty well. In fact, these candidates had done all the right things during their college careers (i.e. activities, good grades, internships), did their research on the company and interviewed very well. Here's the problem: they didn't pass their drug test!

In my opinion, career counselors need to remind students that as they venture into the workplace (a.k.a. the real world), they will more-than-likely be required to pass a drug test as a condition of employment. Getting them to wear a nice suit and ask the right questions will do nothing for them if they're doing bong tokes before the interview.