How Quantum Mechanics Can Help You Turn Job Hopping Employees Into an Asset

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Many executives might view the job-hopping reputation of millennials as a cause for frustration. When they look at the issue, these executives mainly see the high costs of employee turnover.

But there is another side of the coin: Millennials are more savvy than past generations when it comes to seeking jobs they find rewarding. Executives of best-in-class companies know that happy employees are more productive employees — but there is still a problem to be solved here: What is the right mix of addressing job satisfaction and the costs of turnover and new-hire training? What approach can a company take to maximize investment and minimize costs?

When devising a solution to this quandary, executives should consider the propensities of the quantum field, a.k.a. “the Field.”

Understanding the Field

What is the Field? The Field, which is also referred to as “quantum reality,” is a matrix of electromagnetic waves that permeate everything. “So what?” you may ask. Consider the following reality as proven via scientific experiments and measurable observations:

  1. At the base of all physical matter are tiny electromagnetic energy waves.
  2. As two electromagnetic waves intersect, they exchange data.
  3. Communication in the Field is instantaneous.

This reality means that all living and innate matter in our world is connected at every single instant. But how can understanding the Field help solve the challenge of job-hopping millennials?

The Field’s Two Key Attributes

Let’s examine the top goals of the Field.

The ultimate goal of any corporation is to grow, to generate a profit, and to distribute that success to its shareholders. This is in complete alignment with the Field’s No. 1 priority: expansion.

Everything in the universe has a drive to expand: humans, animals, plants, bacteria, and even the universe itself. The urge toward maximum expansion/growth is also related to the Field’s second most important attribute: balance.

Crops in the Midwest flourish when soil is in ideal balance, not too dry and not too wet. In the business world, a company’s growth and profits are optimized when suppliers, operations, and customers are in an ideal balance. The right mix of supply and demand through the vertical supply chain yields the optimal profit. When applied to corporate employees, numerous studies show that happy employees (balanced employees) are as much as 20 percent more productive.

Solving the Problem of Job-Hopping Millennials With the Field

But how does one use this massive web of connection and its attributes of expansion and balance to solve the challenge of the job-hopping millennial?

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Before we can consider looking at the challenge through the lens of the Field, let’s boil down the issue to its simplest state. The problem could be restated thus: At one end of the spectrum, we want to contain costs that cut into our profit, and at the other end of the spectrum, we know that greater production comes from happy employees. Put even more simply, we are looking at cost containment vs. higher job-level production. In simplest form: contraction vs. expansion.

Thus, in devising the solution to the challenge of job-hopping millennials, apply your awareness of Field attributes and shift your focus to the expansion side of the equation. To put it bluntly, adjust the corporate culture to favor the millennial. The goal of the new culture will be to create an environment which encourages (or at least actively supports) the millennial’s ability to switch jobs within the company. Doing so will not only decrease turnover of millennials (and all employees), but it will also statistically raise the number of employees who are happy coming to work every day — which means a higher production per employee ratio.

As an example, you might consider a two-tier job rotation program. Tier one would be a two-year job rotation program for those employees who are searching for a role they enjoy, while tier two could be for those employees who have found their niche and want to stay in the role for 5-7 years. Effective cost management cannot, of course, be discarded, but it should be used as a tool in the design process of the job rotation solution.

Leveraging the structure of the Field and applying its attributes in designing a solution yields four benefits. First, by taking a Field-based approach to the problem, you’re getting a solution to the immediate challenge of higher costs due to turnover and training. Second, you’re getting as much as a 20 percent increase in productivity from happier employees. Third, you’re creating a culture that will be more dynamic and adaptable in responding to future staffing challenges. And fourth, by implementing a Field-based approach to the situation, you’re getting the attention/response of the Field.

What do you do when you become aware of a top performer on your team? You support them, you give them raises, and you promote them. In short, you ensure all resources are available to support and retain the top performer. It is the same with the Field: When it becomes aware of an entity implementing Field-based solutions, resources are aligned in the Field to catalyze the trajectory of success for that entity (i.e., diverse suppliers, better customers, top talent). The greater the success of the entity, the more the Field will catalyze that organization in the future. Why? Because a perfect self-feeding loop has been created: The more a company grows and expands, the more the Field expands, and the more subsequent support will be available to the company so that it (and the Field) can reach higher levels of success (expansion).

Are job-hopping millennials a headache for management? That depends on your perspective. If you’re focusing your energies on cost reduction, then you will be trying to find ways to make millennials conform to the corporate culture. The goal here is to keep the culture static and keep costs low. This perspective sees the issue of job hopping as a problem.

Looking at the challenge through the lens of the Field, however, millennials are an asset, given their heightened desire to find roles they enjoy. Costs may slightly rise in the short term, but the long-term productivity will more than offset those costs. This perspective sees the issue as an opportunity.

The cost-containment perspective vs. the Field perspective: Which will you choose?

John Jay McKey is an accomplished data analytics expert and successful business leader. His new book is Leverage the Field for Success – Using Quantum Reality to Succeed in the Corporate World.

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Stand Out to Top Talent With These Social Recruiting Best Practices

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With the US unemployment rate hovering around 3.7 percent, recruiters today are tasked with the challenge of sourcing talent in a highly competitive, candidate-driven market. To successfully source and attract candidates in this difficult environment, recruiters must make the most of the resources available to them.

Social media is one of those resources. According to a SHRM survey, 84 percent of organizations were using social media to recruit talent in 2017, and we have every reason to believe the number is even higher today. Recruiters know it is critical to be where their candidates are, and increasingly, that means being online.

With so many recruiters using social media to connect with candidates, it’s a crowded market. However, by following some simple dos and don’ts, recruiters can set themselves apart and find social recruiting success.

Social Recruiting Dos

1. Do Connect With Candidates on Their Preferred Platforms

Each social media platform has a different kind of audience, and it is important for recruiters to understand which channels are most effective for connecting with their target candidates.

LinkedIn, for example, is a great place to reach higher-level management candidates, while Facebook’s larger talent pool of 2.41 billion monthly active users allows recruiters to cast wider nets for a larger variety of positions. Similarly, creative professionals often showcase their portfolios on Pinterest and Instagram, making these platforms good sources for preliminary candidate searches in creative fields.

2. Do Get Involved

Rather than approaching candidates cold, recruiters can drive more organic engagement by participating in relevant groups on social media sites. Talented professionals often join LinkedIn and Facebook groups centered on their industries and roles, and when recruiters become consistently active in these groups, they better position themselves to identify talent, build relationships, and attract candidates with specific areas of expertise.

Recruiters should visit target group pages daily and find opportunities to comment on posts, ask and answer questions, and highlight relevant industry news. The more value you add to the community, the more candidates within that community will trust you and be open to your recruiting efforts.

3. Do Incorporate Video

Cisco projects that, by 2021, video will account for 82 percent of all Internet Protocol (IP) traffic, meaning a million minutes of video will be transmitted across the internet every second. Given how much time your candidates already spend consuming video content, it makes sense to incorporate video into your social recruiting strategy.

A study from CareerBuilder illustrates the powerful impact of video on recruiting: Job postings that direct applicants to a video receive 12 percent more views than postings without video, and job ads that incorporate video receive 34 percent more applications than those that don’t.

Video is best used to highlight employer brands and employee value propositions in visual, compelling ways. These videos can be included in job posts and shared across social media platforms, engaging candidates and encouraging them to envision themselves as members of the team.

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4. Do Become Mobile-Friendly

Roughly 70 percent of job seekers use their phones to browse the internet for new jobs. In order to reach these candidate, recruiters should be sure the content they share on social media is optimized for mobile devices.

Recruiters should test all content and visuals prior to posting them on social media to ensure they are readable and viewable across devices, including smartphones, tablets, and desktops/laptops. All job ads, both on social media and on company websites, should be mobile-friendly as well. If your job ads and recruiting content are not optimized for mobile viewing, your mobile job seekers will simply skip your roles. If they do apply, they’ll likely grow frustrated by the application process and abandon your pipeline.

Social Recruiting Don’ts

1. Don’t Post Too Much

When it comes to getting attention on social media, it’s best to avoid repetitive content. Focus on quality over quantity.

Recruiters should evaluate the content they are posting in terms of whether or not it is relevant to target candidates. Ensure everything you share on social media is professional, original, and authentic. Focus on topics like industry news, education, and events to build a following and engage the right candidates.

2. Don’t Spam Candidates

Nothing annoys a candidate like receiving a generic message from a recruiter that has no relevance to them at all. Instead of spamming candidates with form letters, start authentic dialogues and build relationships with them. Personalized communication tailored to the experience and background of the candidate is much more effective in attracting attention and generating responses.

3. Don’t Forget Branding

Branding should be an important component of any social media strategy. According to a LinkedIn survey, 52 percent of candidates seek out a company’s website and social media profiles to learn more about the employer, and 75 percent of candidates will consider a company’s brand before applying for a job opening.

Your social media profiles and activity should reflect and support your company’s brand message at all times. Showcase your company’s brand and culture by sharing stories, photos, and videos of employees at work, doing volunteer activities, during educational events, and during times of reward and recognition.

In a candidate-driven market, recruiters must embrace social media to extend their reach and attract quality candidates. By following these established best practices and avoiding mistakes, recruiters will gain a competitive edge in a crowded market, leading to stronger connections with candidates and more top hires.

Adam DeMarco is director of operations at Loyal Source.

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How to Make Your Diversity and Inclusion Efforts Really Count 

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Diversity and inclusion (D&I) needs to be a top priority for businesses today. Aside from the moral imperative to create more equitable and progressive workplaces, diverse companies, simply put, make more money: Companies with more diverse management teams have 19 percent higher revenue, according to a study by the Boston Consulting Group.

But let’s be real. Despite the best intentions, organizations still fall short of recruiting, hiring, and retaining diverse talent.

Why? Too many companies begin D&I initiatives with ill-defined goals, limited knowledge of or experience in implementing programs like this, and a lack of cohesion among leadership. Further, they lack the planning, technology solutions, and metrics to monitor the changes they want to achieve.

Here are some tips to get your D&I initiative started on the right foot:

1. Get Leadership to Be D&I Champions

D&I initiatives require executive buy-in and ongoing support. If your decision-makers are convinced of D&I’s importance from the beginning, you can make real change much more effectively.

Educate leadership on the benefits of a more diverse workforce. With diversity and inclusion efforts proven to positively impact the bottom line, it shouldn’t be hard to capture their attention and advocacy. Highlight the concrete benefits of supporting a more diverse team — improved innovation, reduced employee turnover, better ability to attract top talent, etc. — so your leaders prioritize your efforts.

Create a policy that formalizes your company’s commitment to D&I. Our CEO at Cielo, for example, signed an action committed to advancing women in leadership at our company. Fifty-percent of our global executive team is female, and approximately 65 percent of our director and above leaders are female. These outcomes would not be possible without the support of leadership.

In addition, establish a D&I council of leaders across your organization with a clear purpose and framework. Clarify that D&I duties should be prioritized as real responsibilities rather than secondary ones.

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2. Take Stock of Your Organization and Define Achievable Goals

When talent acquisition teams talk about diversity in recruiting efforts, they often focus on the more obvious identifiers, like race, gender, and sexual orientation. However, diversity also includes factors like age, physical and mental ability, class, religion, and more. Diversity also looks different depending on the industry and location of your business. Keeping this in mind, be realistic about how you can change the makeup of your company through new hires.

Reflect on your employee population and ask yourself some critical questions: Does everyone look the same? What does your leadership team look like? How does this population compare to industry standards and the population of your city?

If you identify opportunities to diversify your organization’s employee base, direct your outreach at specific populations and go from there. Look at populations historically under-hired and see how they can fit into your company. For example, autistic employees (a population with an estimated 66 percent unemployment rate) have recently thrived in areas like cybersecurity and programming.

You can’t rely on the same old recruitment tactics to diversify your workforce. Make a conscious effort to use more inclusive language in job postings and target messaging to reach specific populations. Additionally, provide unconscious bias training for all hiring managers, and use diverse interview panels when evaluating new candidates.

3. Know When to Call for Help

Improving D&I in your organization can be challenging, and it’s often a sensitive topic to even discuss. It’s easy to fumble important conversations and derail your efforts. Further, even if you manage to recruit a more diverse population of candidates, you won’t keep them on board for very long if you don’t foster an inclusive workplace environment that supports diversity.

Fortunately, you don’t need to achieve all this on your own. Many businesses are now hiring formal roles like “director of diversity and inclusion” or “chief equality officer,” with postings for such positions increasing by nearly 20 percent between 2017 and 2018. While many businesses aren’t in a position to make these hires, that doesn’t mean they can’t call for outside help when necessary. Bring in experts to lead conversations around these topics and facilitate discussions to ensure every new hire feels welcome in your organization. Experts can also educate existing employees and facilitate important conversations around why diversity matters.

Consider partnering with a recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) provider or other third party that can help recruit more diverse candidates and create a more inclusive workplace culture.

Some RPO providers specialize in promoting diverse hiring, ensuring compliance, and making certain your dedication to D&I is reflected in your culture and values. They may also be able to help your organization overhaul its recruiting and onboarding processes through market mapping, diversity job boards, emerging talent programs, veteran programs, and more. With the help of the right partners, your diversity efforts can become effective and valuable long-term talent acquisition strategies.

A diverse workforce isn’t a nice-to-have — it’s a key component of what makes your business successful. With companies struggling to fill roles in an increasingly competitive market, those organizations that are able to cast wider nets into more diverse talent pools are more likely to land the talent they need to succeed.

Anne Bucher is SVP of customer experience at Cielo.

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Sales Reps Say These 3 Benefits Trump Salary

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Money, money, money! It’s on every top sales rep’s mind, right?

While money is an important factor for sales reps — their hard work directly determines their paycheck’s size — it isn’t necessarily the most important factor they consider when weighing job opportunities. As a result, making salary the only focus of your recruitment pitches could leave you with a dried up talent pool.

According to the “9th Annual Medical Sales Salary Report” from MedReps, medical sales reps place work/life balance, career growth and advancement, and job satisfaction above salary. For employers, this means it is time to loosen the hold salary and commission has on your recruitment strategies. To attract top sales talent today, start highlighting these benefits instead:

1. Work/Life Balance

If you uttered the words “work/life balance” to a group of sales reps just five years ago, they probably would’ve thought you were joking. Traditionally, sales reps have always been in demand and on the go, constantly working to hit their sales goals.

Employee expectations, however, are drastically changing. In fact, 61 percent of respondents in the MedReps survey say work/life balance is more important to them than money.

Now is the time for employers to check in on their own reputations for work/life balance. What do Glassdoor reviews say? Are past or current employees discussing their never-ending workloads or managers’ lack of understanding on social media? This information will give you a clear picture of where your branding and recruitment efforts must start.

When engaging directly with sales rep candidates, be sure to clearly present the company’s work/life balance policy. Ask employees to share testimonials of how they maintain a healthy balance. For example, one employee might share a story of reaching out to a leader when they felt work/life balance was lacking. Such a story illustrates how leaders get involved and support sales reps in times of need.

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2. Career Growth and Advancement

Sales is a highly self-motivated field, but reps don’t expect to hit their career goals by themselves. They rely on growth and advancement opportunities presented by their employers. In fact, 45 percent of surveyed reps said growth and advancement were more important to them than salary.

You can showcase the ways in which your organization supports sales reps in their careers by sharing stories of how your current employees have advanced at your company. For example, if an entry-level rep became a senior rep and then moved into a managerial role, ask if you can share their journey with prospects. Recognize the employee on social media and the company website for their accomplishments. Be sure to note the courses, mentorship opportunities, and other employer-sponsored resources that helped the employee achieve their new status.

Consider creating career maps for each of your employees who have advanced in this way and sharing those maps on the company’s careers page and social media profiles. During interviews, ask candidates to share their own career paths and discuss how your company can help them along the way.

3. Job Satisfaction

Many of the candidates in your funnel have probably experienced burnout or dissatisfaction at previous roles, and they’ll want to make sure the same won’t happen at your company. However, proving to prospective sales reps that they won’t just be another number on the sales board can be challenging.

Job satisfaction can be tricky, as each rep values something different. Where one rep may need to know they’ll always be done early on Tuesdays to make their kid’s soccer game, another may need to see a structured path to the executive level to feel satisfied in their role.

Instead of trying to guess, simply go to the source. Survey current employees to see what keeps them engaged and satisfied with your company. Compare their responses to identify common themes, and then emphasize those themes in your employer branding materials. Aim for five or so themes.

Similarly, survey your candidates — whether or not you offer them a job — after the hiring process to discover where your company met or missed the mark in the candidate experience. For example, did they exit the process after receiving another job offer? If so, find out what that company offered to convince them they’d be satisfied for the long-term.

Above all, remain transparent and open with candidates. If you’re unsure whether your company can meet their needs, come back to them with an answer later. This maintains trust and respect in the relationship. That way, even if there isn’t a good fit now, you will maintain a spotless reputation and be able to return to candidates for future opportunities.

Karyn Mullins is president of MedReps.com. Connect with Karyn on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

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Confront Microaggressions at Work Before They Destroy Employee Morale

Fist

You would be forgiven for thinking of microaggressions as a relatively new concept, but the term was first coined in the 1970s by Harvard professor Chester M. Pierce, and the topic has been the subject of more than 5,000 academic studies over the past decade alone.

Despite all the research, a great deal of confusion still surrounds the concept of microaggressions, and the topic certainly merits further clarity and conversation. After all, the better we understand microaggressions and how they impact employee performance, the better positioned we are to address and eliminate them.

Below, we’ll explore what microaggressions are, why they are a performance management concern, and how managers can best confront them in the workplace.

What Are Microaggressions?

Put simply, microaggressions are everyday acts — whether verbal or nonverbal — that carry subtle hints of sexism, homophobia, racism, or another form of discrimination. These hostile comments and actions target marginalized individuals, making them feel inferior or separate, which in itself is detrimental to employee engagement and morale. Researchers have subcategorized microaggressions further into microassaults, microinsults, and microinvalidations, but regardless of the specific form, microaggressions target people for characteristics beyond their control. And they are highly pervasive: According to one source, for example, 64 percent of women regularly experience microaggressions, non-white women even more so.

Examples of Microaggressions in the Workplace

Microaggressions often result from general ignorance or willful stereotyping of a given demographic. Some of these biases are so deep-rooted people don’t even know they are being insensitive. Below are a few examples of the forms microaggressions may take in the workplace:

  1. “She is bossy/shrill/aggressive”: These terms are generally used to describe ambitious, driven women. Conversely, men who demonstrate similar behavior are often labeled as “assertive” or “determined.”
  2. “Are you the diversity hire?”: Assuming an employee was hired solely as a result of their demographic profile can undermine that person’s worth and value, leaving the employee feeling underappreciated.
  3. “You don’t seem gay”: A comment like this tells someone they don’t conform to the speaker’s stereotype of a particular group.
  4. “Do you need help turning the computer on?”: Comments like this might be intended as jokes, but they often speak to a perceived helplessness in another person. For example, this particular comment may be made in connection with the stereotype that older workers are out of touch with technology.

Microaggressions also come in other forms. For example:

  1. Only making female employees take notes during meetings
  2. Only asking women to make coffee runs
  3. Using identity terms in a derogatory manner
  4. Assuming strengths or preferences based on an individual’s gender, age, sexual orientation, or race
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How Microaggressions Affect Your Workforce

In isolation, microaggressions might seem trivial to you, as a casual observer. Over time, however, they can have a huge impact, including a serious effect on employee turnover. According to a 2016 study conducted by The Center for Generational Kinetics and Ultimate Software, 60 percent of employees would immediately quit a job if they felt “emotionally unsafe” at work. This finding is hardly surprising considering that managers and leaders often reinforce toxic company cultures and behaviors. Accepted attitudes and actions filter down from the top, resulting in environments of intimidation and harassment.

Toxic cultures stand in the way of building diverse, inclusive, and healthy workplaces. Language matters, and what we say to our colleagues can have a substantial effect on their sense of belonging and identity. Over time, this can have a significant impact on a person’s mental health. According to a study from the Harvard Voices of Diversity project, ongoing microaggressions can lead to lower self-confidence, constant questioning of one’s abilities, and an ever-present fear of having to reencounter the behavior.

Beyond the emotional and psychological impact, there is a physical toll as well. When an employee experiences a slight or hears an offensive statement about themselves, their body produces a stress response. Repeated microaggressions cause repeated stress responses, which over time can have the effect of prematurely aging a person’s body, contributing to illness and even early death.

How Managers Can Address Microaggressions

An environment in which microaggressions abound is not an environment that is conducive to great performance. For employee engagement and morale to flourish, employees need to feel secure, confident, and able to express themselves.

When it comes to confronting microaggressions in the workplace, here is what managers can do to help:

1. Accept That Microaggressions Are a Problem

As with any problem, before you can begin to address microaggressions, you need to first acknowledge they exist. Managers would benefit from microaggression training to help them understand what it is and how it can impact their employees. This will allow managers to identify microaggressions and intervene more effectively when they occur.

2. Encourage Open and Honest Communication Throughout Your Company

Your employees spend eight hours a day (or more) at your office. They deserve to feel confident and secure during this time. They should also believe their manager has their back and is there to support them should they need it.

Make consistent communication part of your company culture by incorporating regular performance coaching conversations into your standard operating procedures. Over time, these conversations will cultivate more trust between employees and their managers, and as a result, employees will feel more inclined to bring microaggressions to their manager’s attention.

3. Address Microaggressions Early and Directly

If an employee approaches a manager to discuss their experience and discomfort with microaggressions, the manager has a duty to address and resolve the issue immediately. The longer the manager takes to act, the less supported the employee will feel. Show your team members that you take this incivility seriously and are willing to take action.

Microaggressions can sometimes be resolved quickly and amicably. After all, the aggressor does not always realize they have caused offense. Some situations, however, may require more complex resolution processes. Regardless, it is best to discuss the problem openly and get to the bottom of the matter before it begins to fester.

Most importantly, managers should take a public stance against microaggressions and make it clear that the company does not accept discrimination in any form. When employees are confident and secure in their place of work, they will not only be more psychologically well, but they’ll also be more motivated to go that extra mile for your business.

Stuart Hearn is CEO and founder of Clear Review.

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The 3 Keys to a Successful, Sustainable Career in IT

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The current mantra is, “Everyone should learn to code.” The problem is most people interpret that to mean “Everyone should become a programmer.” Like many professions, programming takes a certain combination of talent and skills that not everyone possesses.

For example, when I (Cal) was younger, I decided I wanted to learn to play the guitar. My parents bought me one, and I started to take lessons. It lasted about four weeks.

I had a guitar. I could hold a guitar. I could strum the strings. I had everything necessary to begin playing the guitar — everything except one important thing: a desire to play the guitar that was strong enough to motivate me to practice.

Passion Matters

Physically, yes, I had everything I needed to play the guitar. What I was lacking was passion.

Software development is a lot like playing a musical instrument: The best make it look easy, but only because they’ve had years of practice first. More to the point, software development requires a commitment to learning the basics, then learning how to properly apply the basics, then learning new things based on your experience, then — you get the point.

Passion is a cornerstone of a successful career as a software developer. Passion for creating something. Passion for solving a problem. Passion for adding value to a project or company.

Your Track Record Matters

But while passion will get you started, it will only carry you so far. I (Cal) have a passion for first-person shooter video games. Ever since I played the original Team Fortress, I have been hooked. Most weeks I will log 4+ hours of playing.

That said, I’m not very good at it. I am certainly not good enough to compete professionally. I’m not even good enough to be part of a clan. I love playing, though, even if my KDR is usually not even an integer.

To move to the next level, I would need a track record of success. This is where many people trip up in the world of programming: They think that because they have a passion for software development, they should be able to build a career.

Doctors spend the first few years of their careers working the worst jobs in the profession. They don’t walk off the stage and immediately start performing open-heart surgery. It takes a lot of doing the hard stuff first, things like being the on-call doctor and working the emergency room on the weekends. These are not glamorous jobs. These are not fun jobs. These aren’t even well-paying jobs. However, they give a doctor something they need: a track record. A doctor can point to their time in those jobs and say, “See, I know what I am doing.” Then they can go on to the fun/high-paying part of being a doctor.

Just as a doctor has to prove they can do what they claim they can, software developers have to prove they can solve problems with code. Unlike doctors, though, software developers have a lot of options for how to do that. The easiest option is to get involved in your favorite open-source software program and:

  1. Check out the repository
  2. Find a bug you think you can fix
  3. Write the code
  4. Submit a pull request
  5. Go to step one
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The more you do this, the more complex of a bug you will be able to fix. Soon, you will become a regular contributor and will have a body of work you can reference to prove you can do the job. The second but no less important attribute of this method is that your favorite software project is better off because it has a new contributor adding value.

This kind of work is much more important when you are just starting out than if you have a career you can point to. It is also more difficult to do when you are just starting out. If you have no track record, it will be more difficult to convince project owners to accept your pull requests. Still, the experience you gain will be invaluable.

Being able to show a track record of building useful things is a cornerstone of a successful software development career.

Value Matters

Once you have your software development job and have started your software development career, you need to be able to prove to your current and future employers that you can deliver value.

Most companies do not hire people altruistically. It would be a better world if they did, but the fact of the matter is that companies have to stay in business to keep employing people like you. To stay in business, they have to create something of value for which others will pay money. Therefore, for you to stay employed, you have to deliver something of value to the company.

In the case of software developers, the value we deliver is not the code we write, but the problems we solve for customers. If the code we write does not solve a problem the company can monetize, then it is not valuable.

Once you get a job, and once you get settled in, start looking for ways you can add value to the company and its products. Sometimes, value is created by doing the things nobody else wants to do, like documentation, unit testing, etc. Backfilling these important software development artifacts creates value because not only are you adding to the project, but you are also freeing up developers who know more about the project to work on the problems you are not yet qualified to work on.

Being able to deliver value to the users as well as the company is a cornerstone of a successful software development career.

Every successful software developer has these three things: passion, a track record, and the ability to deliver value.

Yes, everyone should learn to code if they want to, but learning to code is not the same as being a successful software developer. To do that, you need more than a basic understanding of the rules, just like it takes more than being able to hold a guitar to be a successful musician.

Mario Peshev is the CEO of DevriX and the author of 126 Steps to Becoming a Successful Entrepreneur: The Entrepreneurship Fad and the Dark Side of Going Solo. Follow him on Quora, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Cal Evans is senior consultant at E.I.C.C., Inc., and the author of Culture of Respect. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Together, Evans and Peshev produce the podcast No BS Engineering: Career Advice for Developers.

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in Career]

Without an Effective Onboarding Process, Even the Best Hires Are Doomed to Fail

skate

Finding top talent is vital to an organization’s growth, but even the best hires can go south without an effective onboarding process in place.

Without quality onboarding, companies set themselves up for a whole host of problems, including lower retention rates, lower engagement, a weaker company culture, lower performance, increased costs, and decreased revenue. On the flip side, a high-quality onboarding experience sets the right tone for new hires, integrating them into the company quickly and getting them up to full productivity faster.

What does a great onboarding process look like? The specific details may vary by company and role, but here are some general principles every organization can use:

Before the New Hire’s First Day

The number of forms a new hire needs to fill out can be overwhelming. However, the paperwork pains can be streamlined for you and your employee if you prepare in advance. Put together a packet of all the documents your new hire will need according to their status, national and local regulations, and your own internal processes. That list may include a W-4, an I-9, a nondisclosure agreement, direct deposit forms, insurance forms, and more.

Once you have the documents prepared, you should send them to the employee prior to their first day. This way, the new hire can knock out all the paperwork ahead of time, and you can dedicate their first day on the job to much more engaging and exciting things. Along with these preboarding documents, you may want to provide the details for the employee’s first day, including dress code, parking instructions, arrival time, what to bring, etc.

In keeping with the theme of preparation, you should also set up the employee’s workspace ahead of time. Everything the employee needs to get started should be ready to go when they arrive. Some common items you may want to take care of include:

  1. Laptop, hardware, other accessories
  2. Software
  3. Company email address
  4. First-day documents (policies, procedures, etc.)
  5. Company swag and welcome materials

Finally, be sure to sit down with any managers and supervisors who will be training the new employee. Go over the employee’s background and experience, and work with the managers to put a tailored training process in place.

Day 1

It’s important to engage employees throughout the onboarding process, and that starts on day one. The new hire’s experience with onboarding will affect their retention and performance, so it’s important to focus on the individual, not just the process and paperwork.

Make sure you have a welcome procedure in place to cover everything the new employee might need to know. Typical details include:

  1. Tour of the building/space
  2. Location of desk/workspace
  3. Hardware setup
  4. Software/account setups
  5. Manager and team introductions
  6. One-on-one meeting to set expectations (planning, goals, etc.)
  7. Once the employee is settled, collect any photocopies or documents you still need (IDs, direct deposit forms, etc.).

Week 1

During the first week, new hires should begin to integrate with their teams. As that is going on, take some time to confirm that you’ve collected all the required paperwork. It never hurts to double-check.

The end of week one is also an ideal time for managers to check in with new hires in a one-on-one setting. Encourage managers to elicit feedback about the employee’s experience and impressions so far, answer lingering questions, and address any concerns. This is also a good opportunity to set the new employee’s goals for their first 90 days. These goals should be designed to both support the team’s overarching mission and ramp the employee up to the appropriate level of performance.

The First 90 Days

The first 90 days can be broken up into three phases: learning, analysis and strategy, and execution.

Month 1: Learning

While the new hire had their first week to get accustomed to the position, there is still a lot to learn about the company, the business model, and the industry. Month one should prioritize the employee’s learning so that they can be fully integrated into organizational operations.

Throughout the month, HR should regularly check in with the person training the new hire to ensure they have the resources, time, and support they need to effectively coach the new employee. These check-ins can also be used to track the new hire’s progress and adjust training as needed to keep the employee on pace.

Finally, make sure the new employee’s manager or supervisor schedules a check-in at the end of the first month. Similar to the week one check-in, this conversation should be used to discuss goals, opportunities, obstacles, and questions.

Month 2: Analysis and Strategy

During the second month, the new hire can work with their manager and HR to analyze what they have seen and experienced in their role so far. From there, they can formulate a strategy for their role that will help the team move forward.

New hires often bring new perspectives, and they should be encouraged to share their perspectives with their team members. The new hire may help the team reconsider existing strategies, fine-tune workflows, and do other things differently in order to reach their goals more efficiently.

Month 3: Execution

By the third month, the employee should be focused on executing their strategy. They’ve had time to observe how the company and the team work, so now it is time for the new hire to shift from learning to performing.

At the end of the third month, it is time to review the employee’s first 90 days on the job. Managers should evaluate performance and progress and plan for the employee’s future at the organization.

After the First 90 Days

If you want to retain employees for the long term, you need to ensure you are consistently supporting them even beyond the onboarding process. Encourage managers to have regular one-on-one performance conversations with all of their employees, new and established alike. These conversations are perfect opportunities to provide recognition and feedback, both of which have been shown to increase engagement and decrease turnover.

Get Software That Helps

Managing the many moving parts of the onboarding process can be a nightmare, even for the most organized HR pros. That’s why finding the right onboarding software solution is critical to an effective onboarding process.

Different companies have different needs, but in general, your onboarding solution should be intuitive and user-friendly for both your HR department and your new hires. Consider looking for a solution that has at least some of these critical features:

  1. Project management
  2. Time tracking
  3. Communication
  4. Reviews
  5. Appointment software
  6. Recordkeeping
  7. Engagement and performance tracking

Your onboarding process sets the tone for new employees. When new hires have a clear plan to follow, they are more likely to perform at their best and less likely to leave the company quickly. Put time in now to craft a streamlined, effective onboarding process, and reap the rewards each time you bring on a new employee.

A version of this article originally appeared on the ClearCompany blog.

Sara Pollock is head of the marketing department at ClearCompany.

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Forget Your Job Title: No Matter What Your Role Is, You’re in Sales

bread

A firefighter, a professor, a computer repair technician, and a lawyer are having dinner together. Which one is the salesperson?

None of them, right? One is in the business of saving lives, another teaches, one fixes stuff, and the last one keeps people out of jail.

They’re not in sales. Or are they?

The fact is that every job is a sales job. Even yours.

What do you think the firefighter is doing when he visits an elementary school classroom to talk about the dangers of playing with matches or setting off fireworks? He’s selling children on staying safe.

What skills does the professor use when she tries to convince her students to power down their phones and take notes during her lectures? Sales skills.

If a computer tech does a good job and treats his clients — who usually come to him in distress — with kindness and patience, will those customers choose him again next time they need service? If so, he’s made a sale.

And the lawyer spends all day selling juries on finding her clients “not guilty” and judges on ruling in their favor.

No matter what kind of job you can think of, it has a sales component, at least unofficially. That means your job is, in part, a sales job.

If you’re like most people who haven’t chosen sales as a career, your reaction is probably something like, “Ick.”

Sales does have a bad reputation, but the fact is that we are surrounded by salespeople who are ethical and honest. Most salespeople do not practice the dishonest, manipulative, pushy brand of sales that created that bad rap. You don’t have to sell that way when you make those unofficial sales at work that you inevitably make even though your job title doesn’t say anything about “sales.”

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Most of today’s sales professionals practice consultative sales. That means they try to sell only what their clients need. They look for products and services that will solve a problem for the client or make the client happy. They don’t pressure or trick or lie to their clients. They figure out how they can get what they want — the sale — while giving the client what they want and need. They know that nobody likes to be sold, but they also know that everybody likes to buy. They figure out what each person they meet really wants to buy, and that’s what they sell.

The same strategy can work for people who aren’t sales professionals but have lots of opportunities to make unofficial sales at work. However, going from a mindset of “Ick!” to one that embraces selling as the most effective way to get a raise, a promotion, a thumbs-up for your business on social media, or another contract from someone you already work with might not be easy.

So ease into it. Here are four points to help you embrace your inner salesperson:

1. Realize That You Already Know How to Sell

In fact, you’ve known how since you were a kid. Children seem to innately understand how to get what they want from their parents. They figure out at a young age that being nice and helpful — not demanding and stomping their feet — will get them that special toy or a later bedtime. They also know that they need to ask for what they want, because Mom and Dad aren’t going to volunteer it. Those strategies can still work for you. Follow the Golden Rule when you ask for anything: Treat people as you would like them to treat you. Be kind. Don’t push. Ask nicely.

2. Not Only Do You Already Know How to Sell, but You Already Do It Every Day

Every time you encourage your child to pick up their toys, your partner to pick up the dry cleaning, or a coworker to pick up the slack, you’re selling. Every time they do what you asked, you’ve made a sale. It doesn’t matter that the transaction did not involve money.

3. Think of Selling as a Way to Help People

Everybody wants something. Once you identify the person who can help you get what you want, figure out not how you can sell that person, but what you have that can help that person. A professional who sells gutter shields, for example, has a product that can solve a huge problem for a homeowner with clogged gutters. A nonsalesperson who asks the boss for a big raise can offer to take on more responsibility in exchange for more money. A sale — official or unofficial — should create a win for the seller and a win for the buyer.

4. You Could Be a Superstar at Work If You Bring in Business, Even If That’s Not Your Official Job

Opportunities to bring in business are everywhere. Whenever you work with clients, find out what else they need. Ask what else you can do to help. Then, figure out if your company has a product or service that would fill that need, and offer it.

Before you say goodbye to a client after a satisfying work experience, ask that customer to refer your company to friends and colleagues and to write a positive social media review.

Be a walking commercial for your company, on and off the job. Employees who tell positive stories about their workplaces spread goodwill not only for their businesses but for themselves. The people who notice your pride in your company are more likely to contact you when they need its services.

Making a sale can and should be a positive experience for both you and the person you’re selling. There’s really nothing “icky” at all about trying to strike a deal that benefits everyone involved.

Dr. Cindy McGovern, known as the “First Lady of Sales,” speaks and consults internationally on sales, interpersonal communication, and leadership. She is the author of Every Job Is a Sales Job: How to Use the Art of Selling to Win at Work. For more information, please visit www.drcindy.com and connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Sustainable Retention: How Going Green Keeps Your Employees Around Longer

flower

As organizations attempt to stay profitable and competitive, they must constantly adapt to new ideas and techniques. This is especially true today, when workers can find new jobs more easily, the cost of supplies disrupts profitability, and unengaged workers are the rule rather than the exception.

However, employers can reduce their expenses, engage their workers, and retain more staff members by understanding and appealing to one of their employees’ key values: environmentally sustainable business practices.

In the Face of Climate Change, More and More Workers Value Sustainability

In a recent HP Workforce survey, 56 percent of respondents said “ignoring sustainability in the workplace is as bad as ignoring diversity and inclusion.” Forty percent said they would look for new jobs if their current employers did not engage in sustainable business practices, and 39 percent even said they would warn others of their company’s poor sustainability practices.

The good news is that sustainability is more than just a value your workers want you to adopt. It’s also good for business.

One immediate bonus of sustainability is improved worker engagement, which, as Gallup notes, can boost profitability by 21 percent. As Simon Mainwaring, CEO of We First Branding, told The Guardian, “Every employee is looking to feel good about where they work and make a larger contribution. Through sustainability they can feel better about their role within a company.”

Reduced costs are another bonus. The School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University reports that “[c]ontrary to the popular belief that doing more environmentally friendly activities leads to more costs, researchers find that the opposite rings true in many cases. Implementing sustainable manufacturing initiatives can save companies money and, in some cases, can increase revenues by millions or more annually.”

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Many companies have reported results that back up Indiana University’s research. By taking steps like reducing food and pharmaceutical waste, Gundersen Health System was able to save nearly $4 million per year. Similarly, GE and Dow have seen massive savings of $300 million and $9.8 billion respectively through more efficient resource consumption.

The US Military: A Model for Corporate Sustainability

Civilian corporations looking for guidance in adopting more sustainable practices may want to pay attention to the military. As first glance, this may seem surprising. After all, the military accounts for 80 percent of all energy consumed by the federal government. However, the military also has massive incentive to decrease its energy consumption: Between 2003 and 2007, more than 3,000 service members and contractors were killed or wounded on fuel convoys in Iraq and Afghanistan. Cutting fuel use can save the lives of Americans deployed in conflict zones.

One of the first voices to advocate for reduced dependence on petroleum was Marine Corps General and former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who in 2003 urged that the military must be “unleashed from the tether of fuel.” Recognizing the military’s need to reduce its dependence on fuel, Congress created the Division of Operational Energy Plans and Programs in 2010 with the goal of cutting costs and saving lives through conservation measures and renewable energy innovations. For example, the Department of Defense’s Net Zero Energy initiative aims to create bases that generate all their energy needs from renewable sources, saving taxpayer dollars and reducing emissions in the process.

Like civilian organizations, the military would be wise to advertise its sustainable practices to potential recruits. At the moment, many Americans are disconnected from the military; they do not understand the full scope of military jobs available. Like any organization, the military needs to support the values of the people it wishes to recruit if it seeks to attract and retain new talent. The military’s aim to reduce oil dependence is in line with the values of American workers, particularly those of military age, which means it could employ and retain more key personnel simply by showing off the hard work it has already done to reduce its environmental footprint.

Civilian companies and the military both meet their recruiting and retention goals by listening to and supporting what their prospective and current workers value. To recruit and retain engaged employees in today’s environment, organizations of all kinds must invest in sustainable operating practices. Moreover, implementing environmentally friendly changes will also reduce costs and increase profitability. From every angle, environmental sustainability is a win for organizations.

Kevin Johnston is a contractor and technical writer working for the Headquarters Marine Corps Talent Management Oversight Directorate. The views expressed within this article are his own.

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Starting Your Own Recruiting Firm? Use This Checklist to Do It Right

checklist

According to the American Staffing Association, there are about 20,000 staffing and recruiting companies in the US operating a combined total of 39,000 offices. Where there’s this much competition, there’s opportunity, right?

There’s no shortage of recruiting firms, and for better or worse, there are no (or very few) barriers to entry in this space. Essentially anyone with an internet connection can jump into the fray.

The good news is that you only need to speak with a handful of job seekers to learn that the vast majority of existing firms aren’t very good at what they do. That leaves a pretty big gap in the market on which a professional with the desire and willingness to put in the hard work can capitalize — like I did eight years ago when I started my own firm.

If you find yourself fantasizing about self-employment; being your own boss; and working with whom you want, when you want, how you want, then making the decision to start a recruitment agency might be a great choice for you. It’s even better if you have a background in sales/business development and understand how companies hire people to achieve their business objectives.

7 Things You Need for a Successful Recruiting Firm Launch

It’s not as hard as it may seem to get started. Want to make sure you’re on the right track? If you have everything laid out below, you are probably ready to go. If not, maybe take a step back and do some more planning.

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You’ve Researched and Selected Your Vertical Focus

Whether it’s sales, technology, finance, retail, manufacturing, consumer goods, or something else entirely, your specific industry focus will be the most important decision you make. In many ways, your success as a recruiter depends on building a network of clients (hiring managers) and talent (candidates); the more specific and vertically focused you can be, the better.

Having trouble deciding where to focus? Browse the job boards and see what kinds of positions companies are hiring for. Pay particular attention to the sponsored jobs; employers are paying to advertise these roles, which means candidates are in especially high demand.

✅ You Have an Active LinkedIn Account

Think of LinkedIn the same way the folks who work on Wall Street think of their trading software: They couldn’t do their jobs without it. Before you start your recruiting business, get to at least 500 connections  on LinkedIn.  You’re going to need a robust network to succeed in this line of work.

You’ve Purchased and Set Up Your Candidate Tracking Software

More commonly referred to as an applicant tracking system (ATS), this software is how you’ll keep track of your job orders and candidates. A good ATS will have search functionality built in, so you can find candidates from past searches for new ones, as well as a pipeline tool to track who has been submitted and who is interviewing where and when. Personally, I recommend CATS.

You Have a Bookkeeping System (Like Quickbooks)

You’re going to need a way to send out invoices to ensure you get paid for your placements. I personally prefer Quickbooks because of its user-friendly interface and mobile app, as well as the variety of add-on products you can purchase as you expand.

You’re Set Up on G Suite

As an independent recruiter, you’ll spend a large part of your day scheduling interviews and meetings in your calendar and the calendars of your clients. Invest in something like G Suite for this purpose. You’ll get a branded email address, plus access to Google Calendar and the ecosystem of third-party apps that integrate seamlessly.

You’ve Adopted an Always-on Mentality

Without a doubt the most important thing you’ll need to prepare for when starting your own recruiting firm is the impact the business will have on your lifestyle. You’ll need to  embrace an always-on mentality. Work never stops in this field. If you’re someone who likes to shut down after 8-10 hours of work in a day, this might not be the best path for you to take.

The good news? You can leave the office any time you want. The bad news? You may need to talk a call on a Sunday morning. The honest truth: You won’t mind at all, because you’ll know that each activity is a step closer to a placement or money in the bank.

You’ve Received Proper Training

I can’t stress this enough! If you’ve been working for a reputable recruiting or staffing firm and have learned the ins and outs of the business from someone who knows what they are doing (and has a track record to prove it), you are probably in good shape. If not, you’ll want to get a crash course in how all of this works. An experienced recruiting coach can help get you on the right track, but the real test will be when you put what you’ve learned to work for yourself.

Scott Weiss is the founder of Top Biller and the president at Makena Partners.

Master the art of closing deals and making placements. Take our Recruiter Certification Program today. We’re SHRM certified. Learn at your own pace during this 12-week program. Access over 20 courses. Great for those who want to break into recruiting, or recruiters who want to further their career.
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