Sell the Version of Yourself That Gets What You Deserve: 5 Tips

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It’s hard not to get angry when you’re passed over for a promotion that goes to someone with less experience. Your head probably explodes a little bit every time someone interrupts you while you’re making an important point during a staff meeting — especially if that same person does it again and again, as if what she had to say were more important than what you were talking about. It might make you hopping mad when your boss takes credit for your great ideas or a coworker you thought you could trust goes behind your back to undermine you and get the project you told him you wanted.

Getting mad won’t get you want you want. Communicating better will.

Selling the Best Version of Yourself at Work

If you’re not clear with your managers and colleagues about what you want, expect, and deserve, you’re unlikely to get what you want, expect, and deserve. If you feel disrespected, marginalized, or invisible at work, it could be because you’re selling the wrong thing. It could be that you’re sending a message that tells others it’s okay to muffle your voice, steal your thunder, or pass you over.

It’s time to sell something different. It’s time to let your bosses and colleagues know you recognize your own value and expect them to recognize it as well.

Imagine a camera crew is at your workplace to shoot a commercial about you. What would that commercial sell? Would it show you in meeting after meeting, allowing more boisterous colleagues to shut you down midsentence again and again? Would it show you silently fuming over the loss of a project, promotion, or assignment? Would it show you crying in the bathroom or punching the wall or feeling humiliated because jealous colleagues were gossiping about you?

Are you selling that version of yourself at work?

The fact is, you teach people how to treat you. If you’re taking this kind of abuse without speaking up for yourself, it’s probably going to continue.

For more expert career advice, check out the latest issue of Recruiter.com Magazine:

Here’s how to change that commercial and start selling the version of yourself that gets what you want and deserve:

1. Speak Up

Ask for what you want: a promotion, raise, private office, shift change, respect, recognition, time to finish your sentence. If you don’t ask, you won’t get.

Don’t complain that the situation is unfair. Instead, convince your managers and colleagues that what you have to say is worth listening to, that you deserve an equal say, that you have earned the promotion or raise, or that undermining you won’t work.

Speak up in the moment. If someone interrupts you during a meeting, politely — but firmly — request that he wait his turn. If a promotion is on the table, make it clear that you want it and are qualified for it — before the opportunity passes.

2. Be Consistent

If you let others shut you down even once, they might consider that an invitation to try it again. Take every opportunity — in fact, look for opportunities — to reinforce to others that you have as much of a voice as they do and as much of a right to share your ideas and be considered for advancement.

3. Study the Behavior of Those Who Oppose You

What are they getting out of it? Listen to what they say and when. Are they targeting you because they believe you’re weak or because they have a need to dominate or draw attention to themselves? Are they undercutting you because they believe you’re going to get the promotion instead of them? If you listen and size people up, you might find a way to solve your problem without denying them what they need or want. The best solution is one that makes everyone happy.

4. Keep Track of the Unpleasant Incidents

Look for patterns: Does a colleague interrupt you only during meetings that a certain executive attends? Does the gossip always originate with a specific coworker who seems to fear you will outpace her?

Collecting this data will help you make a plan to counteract the potential damage from the bad treatment you’re experiencing. Making a plan will prepare you to react in the most effective and professional way the next time you encounter poor treatment. The more prepared you are, the less likely you will be to get flustered, back down, or fumble over your words.

5. Keep the Conversation Going

Protecting your reputation and staking your claim on what you deserve is an ongoing process. Follow up with colleagues who have agreed to change the way they treat you so they will know you appreciate their efforts and expect permanent change.

Once you’ve done all this, it’s time to imagine a new commercial. What are you selling now?

Dr. Cindy McGovern, known as the “First Lady of Sales,” is the author of Every Job is a Sales Job: How to Use the Art of Selling to Win at Work. For more information, visit Drcindy.com and connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Unnecessary Work: 12 Things Your Resume Doesn’t Need

duran1. Too Much Focus on Design

A lot of people spend a good deal of time styling their resumes in various ways. These designs tend to take up a lot of space and, unless you are applying for a design position, have no benefit. Focus on proving your expertise by listing your skills and achievements and presenting them in a simple, easy-to-read format.

Duran Inci, Optimum7

stephanie2. Photos

A lot of people today are adding photos of themselves to their resumes, but this isn’t needed. Of course it makes sense for certain industries, but for most it doesn’t. I’d rather focus on the skills of the applicant than what they look like.

Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

aaron3. A Focus on Activities Instead of Impact

People tend to overweigh the activities they have done in previous roles. It’s important to demonstrate the scope of your role, but what really matters is what you accomplished. As much as possible, bring metrics and results to your resume. “We grew X metric by 15 percent annually,” while short, is more meaningful than a list of the seven tasks you did while in that role. Focus on impact, not effort.

Aaron Schwartz, Passport

solomon4. Every Previous Job

It doesn’t matter where the candidate used to work. It only matters what skills they’ve mastered and what experience they’ve gained. I’m always looking for individual expertise and attitude above all, and I won’t reject a candidate just because they’ve changed several jobs over the past year. The world is changing, and we should get rid of the outdated corporate mentality.

Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

joey5. Cookie-Cutter Formatting

In drafting resumes, job seekers often try to follow rules. They read some book or attend a seminar and try to make a perfect resume based on what they heard. As a hiring manager, as well as a CEO, I’m looking for genuine people who are a good fit for my team, people who have the skills and experience I need. Candidates should always make their skills and achievements clear. Let me see your personality.

Joey Kercher, Air Fresh Marketing

chris6. Information About Your High School Days

Unless you’re a college student or just out of high school, I don’t need to see where you got your high school diploma. It doesn’t do anything for me, nor does it tell me about your level of expertise or experience in the industry. All it does is take up space.

Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

john7. Objectives

The objective statement is one of the least necessary parts of a resume because it takes up valuable space. Employers already know your goal is to get a job. You can use the cover letter to expand on your career goals or just share those in an interview. Instead, use that space to share what you have accomplished quantitatively or qualitatively. That tells me whether I want to hire you or not.

John Hall, Calendar.com

colbey8. Irrelevant Information

I frequently get resumes that are loaded with really old and irrelevant information. If you are applying for a job at a startup, don’t include information from high school or your serving job from college — unless your target job is related to either of those things. A resume isn’t impressive if it’s filled with information that doesn’t elevate you. Keep everything relevant.

Colbey Pfund, LFNT Distribution

adrien9. Your Interests

Although it is nice to know more about potential candidates via an “interests” section on a resume, I am going to discover this information in an interview. Take that space on your resume or cover letter to show me more of why you are the best person for the job. Knowing that you can ride a unicycle will not set you apart from other candidates. Save it for the face-to-face meeting.

Adrien Schmidt, Aristotle, by Bouquet.ai

andrew10. Buzzwords

People spend too much time describing themselves with as many buzzwords as possible. Instead, show your credentials and let them speak for you. A list of previous jobs that show the important skills you learned is the best information for a company looking to hire you. Hiring managers don’t care if you’re a “go-getter” or a “team player.” They want to know if you have the experience needed.

Andrew Saladino, Kitchen Cabinet Kings

jared11. References

References are always a great thing, but they definitely don’t need to be on your resume. Instead, spend extra time polishing up the skills section because that’s what most employers look at these days.

Jared Atchison, WPForms

kalin12. Extremely Common Skills

Many candidates list skills that are vague or that almost everybody has, such as internet, social media, Word, or Excel. If you’re going to mention such skills, you need to be more specific (such as “managed Facebook page with 50,000 fans”). There’s also no need to mention skills that have no connection to the job you’re applying for.

Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting

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Reshaping Leadership: The Future of Work Demands Complementary Leadership Models

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Strong leaders have always been essential to guiding organizations through periods of growth and transition, but today they are increasingly challenged to make the right decisions to drive business performance. Issues like digitalization, managing employee expectations, environmental sustainability, and diversity and inclusion efforts now demand leaders’ attention, but facing these fundamental organizational developments often requires specialist knowledge leaders may not necessarily have.

As a result, many leaders are not prepared to take on their expanded roles. In fact, only half of business leaders feel confident leading their teams today, according to a recent survey from Gartner. What’s more, only half of the employees surveyed agree their team leader effectively creates a vision for the future of the team.

To address emerging challenges, leaders must identify ways to successfully navigate these shifts and turn them into opportunities for growth. Meeting new leadership expectations will require many leaders to cultivate new skills and competencies.

‘What Got Us Here Won’t Get Us There’

Leaders are not always best positioned to manage every responsibility they are tasked with, and they are now challenged with additional responsibilities that are entirely new to their roles. This reality is motivating leaders to work differently and adapt new mindsets.

In fact, 60 percent of HR leaders say they are prioritizing their current and future leadership benches in 2019, making it the second-highest priority for the year, according to a recent Gartner survey. In response to the industry-changing shifts spurred by digitalization, increased transparency and public pressure, and the evolution of how work gets done, HR leaders articulate that “what got us here won’t get us there.”

While the HR function is focused on how the organization leverages leadership models, relying on leadership models isn’t enough to help leaders tackle real business priorities and fulfill team performance goals.

Rather than focusing on leadership models, HR needs to create an environment built on “complementary leadership,” the intentional partnership between one leader and one or many leader partners to share leadership responsibilities based on complementary skill sets. Gartner’s 2019 leadership effectiveness survey, “Reshaping Leadership to Prepare for the Future,” found that leaders saw up to a 60 percent boost in team performance when they implemented the complementary leadership approach.

To enable complementary leadership, HR leaders should focus on the following questions:

  1. How do we help leaders focus on the right capabilities?
  2. How do we get leaders to change their behaviors?
  3. How do we fill leaders’ urgent capability gaps quickly?

While complementary leadership can and does occur organically, HR plays a key role in creating the conditions that allow complementary leadership to occur, or even creating complementary partnerships directly.

For more innovative HR insights, check out the latest issue of Recruiter.com Magazine:

To Develop Complementary Leadership, HR Needs to Focus on 3 Changes

1. Equipping Leaders to Identify Development Needs

The first step for HR is to assess the organization’s leaders to understand their current levels of skill proficiencies. This will help determine what gaps exist and what skills require development and fine-tuning.

However, today’s leadership assessments can be misleading because they do not necessarily include the right inputs and often prioritize results based on the wrong metrics. HR must align development programs with leaders’ daily work functions to help them understand how they can effectively use new skills in their current roles.

To do this, leaders should focus on sourcing development priorities from their teams, which will enable employees and leaders to coalesce around a shared set of priorities in service of the team. Additionally, specific context must be factored into assessments of capability needs and performance potential. This enables a better understanding of how leaders are positioned to perform within the specific challenges and needs of their business units and/or functions.

2. Developing Leaders for Practical Application

HR leaders should focus on embedding leaders’ workflows directly into their leadership development programs. Leadership development programs typically last a few days and aim to completely transform leaders’ approaches to their roles. However, leaders may struggle to apply drastic transformations immediately. Leaders must be able to see how they can apply complementary leadership in their daily work functions. Integrating workflows and priorities into development programs provides leaders the opportunity to apply their learning in context.

3. Creating Leader Partnerships

Instead of trying to rush leaders’ development, HR can help them identify and make the most of leader partnerships to fill urgent skill needs. These leader partnerships allow each leader to specialize in core skills, develop needed skills, and lead in critical areas. Gartner’s 2019 leadership effectiveness survey shows this type of partnering can increase leaders’ skill preparedness by 54 percent.

Ensuring that leaders are equipped to lead their teams into the future is a necessary HR strategy for today’s organizations, and HR should be sure to direct resources to the right components of leadership development and support opportunities. Enabling complementary leadership ensures that HR meets the goal of preparing leaders to operate for today and innovate for tomorrow.

Sari Wilde is managing vice president of Gartner’s HR practice.

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As Millennials Grow Up, Fertility Benefits May Be Key to Winning Their Loyalty at Work

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As HR teams and organizational leaders take the next few months to review and revise their voluntary benefits programs ahead of 2020, they should be sure to pay special attention to the changing needs of the workforce.

Millennials, who comprise the largest portion of the US labor force, are growing up. They are now 23-38 years old. While 89 percent of them prioritize benefits over pay raises, the question remains: What benefits, in particular, are they looking for? Does the older millennial who is now in line for a senior leadership position still appreciate the ping-pong tables and free lunches that incentivized them 5-10 years ago? Maybe, but it’s unlikely such benefits will be as effective in retaining these workers as they once were.

There is no one-size-fits-all formula when it comes building the ideal voluntary benefits program for any generation, but we do have a hint as to what millennials (and workers of other ages, too) might be looking for. According to SHRM’s “2018 Employee Benefits” survey, 44 percent of organizations that increased their benefits offerings between 2017 and 2018 increased their wellness benefits. Overall, 75 percent of employers offer wellness benefits of some kind, which suggests that today’s employees are demanding employers support their health and wellness needs.

Of course, the health and wellness needs of employees are largely influenced by the employee’s stage in life. Millennials, as we’ve established, are entering middle age. That means they’re likely to be looking for family-friendly benefits packages as more and more of them begin to settle down and start families.

Fertility Benefits: A Competitive Advantage on the Talent Market

When most people hear “family-friendly benefits,” they think of parental leave packages, flexible work schedules, nursing-friendly facilities, and other perks that specifically support new parents. While these benefits do appear to be growing more widespread, there is an opportunity here for organizations to differentiate themselves by supporting employees at all stages of the journey to parenthood.

Fertility benefits can offer family planning support to a wide range of employees — from those just starting to think about growing their families to those actively researching egg-freezing options —long before a baby shower needs to be planned.

For more innovative HR insights, check out the latest issue of Recruiter.com Magazine:

Despite both the trend toward more robust wellness benefits and the opportunity for differentiation, SHRM found coverage of fertility procedures has decreased year over year. In fact, in-vitro fertilization (IVF) was covered by 24 percent of employers in 2017, but only 18 percent in 2019. Coverage of other fertility benefits declined from 26 percent to 19 percent in the same time span.

Why is happening? One key factor at play is that health care costs are rising, forcing employers to cut many procedures deemed to be “nonessential” from their health insurance packages. Thus, fertility coverage is taking a hit.

The bad news for employers is that these cuts are in direct opposition to what millennial employees actually want and need. First-time mothers are waiting longer to have children, as many women are choosing to prioritize career growth. Even as societal norms change, biology doesn’t, which means more women will be looking for fertility assistance.

It’s a tight labor market, and the number of open roles is outpacing the number of unemployed people. Attracting top talent under these conditions is hard enough. When employers cut fertility benefits, they risk alienating large swaths of the talent market, putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to recruiting.

Additionally, employers are missing out on the high ROI fertility benefits offer. According to a FertilityIQ.com survey, employees who received IVF support from their employers are “more likely to remain in their job for a longer period (62 percent), more willing to overlook shortcomings of their employer (53 percent), and more likely to work harder (22 percent).” Additionally, companies that offer fertility benefits can look forward to increased productivity, as their employees won’t have to spend as much time researching doctors, clinics, and treatment options or scheduling appointments.

A large part of your workers will likely grow their families in some way in the next decade, and as an employer, you need to consider how you will support them on their journeys. Having fertility benefits in place can be key to increasing loyalty, reducing churn, and maintaining an overall positive reputation among current and prospective employees alike. If your company is not currently offering fertility or family-friendly benefits, resolve to make 2020 the year you correct that mistake.

Chris D’Cruz is the cofounder of Nubundle.

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A Step-by-Step Guide to Buying HR Software, From Building the Business Case to Maximizing ROI

chip

Any business leader, regardless of function, has to be able to select and implement the right tools to accomplish their personal and organizational goals. However, buying HR technology (or “WorkTech,” people tech, talent acquisition (TA) tech — whatever you want to call it) can be particularly difficult. There are many vendors, internal stakeholders, and general pitfalls you need to consider.

Below, you’ll find a comprehensive HR tech buying guide that covers the process from start to finish — from building an initial business case all the way through to selecting a vendor and maximizing ROI.

The Business Case

Goal: Define the pain point you’re going to address and articulate how solving this problem will help the business in terms your CFO will appreciate.

At its core, a business case is an explanation of why a particular piece of technology is worth the time, money, and social capital needed to buy and implement it. Purchasing any new HR tech tool starts with constructing a business case that explains why the tool is important to the organization and the value it will deliver. Business cases typically rest on some sort of problem that needs solving. These problems can range from broad, high-level issues (like a stagnant culture) to very specific challenges (like the number of hours recruiters spend on phone screens for entry-level candidates).

The Process:

  1. Define the problem your organization is facing in as much detail as you can.
  2. Articulate this problem in a concise statement, e.g., “Our organization has low retention due to a lack of employee engagement that is caused by a culture in which we do not collect or act on employee feedback.”
  3. Articulate how this problem is impacting your business, preferably with hard numbers and dollar amounts, e.g., “Our current retention rate of 68 percent leads to TA costs exceeding $XX million per year, training costs of $XX million, and lost productivity of $XX million. Additionally, high turnover leads to lower productivity, lower morale, and lost intellectual capital.”
  4. Create a list of potential solutions to the problem, e.g., “Implementing an employee rewards and recognition platform, implementing an employee engagement platform, investing in senior management training, and/or adopting objectives and key results (OKRs).”
  5. Create a hypothesis to explain how these proposed solutions will deliver value to your organization, e.g., “Allowing employees to give feedback to management on a regular basis, and then having management act on this feedback, will allow us to increase retention from 68 percent to 75 percent.”
  6. Calculate the potential ROI this initiative will bring to your business, e.g., “Increasing retention from 68 percent to 75 percent means will have to make 100 fewer new hires per year. Our cost per hire is $5,000, meaning we stand to save $500,000 on TA costs. In addition, numerous studies show each person who leaves the company hurts the business through lost knowledge, social capital, etc. Each of these people is worth $XX. Multiplying that by 100, we will save a total of $XX per year.”

Best Practices:

  1. Try to be as specific as possible when defining the problem. For example, it’s very hard to tackle “culture” as an issue. If you narrow the pain point down to its concrete causes, you can gain a better understanding of how to solve the issue.
  2. Always tie your pain point back to dollars and cents. If your efforts won’t produce an ROI the CFO will appreciate, it will be hard to get buy-in and budget. Use a spreadsheet to calculate the potential payoff of buying a new HR tool.
  3. Create a problem statement that acts as a north star for your project. This will help people stay on track throughout what can be a long initiative.

Internal Stakeholder Management

Goal: Get buy-in from the relevant parts of the organization to make purchasing and implementing your solution easier.

Gaining consensus from the rest of the organization is key to any successful initiative. The ultimate goal here is to get the organization to pull the solution, as opposed to you pushing it on the company. In addition, involving other business leaders in the discussion can yield valuable insights into the most effective way to solve the pain point at hand.

The Process:

  1. Make a list of the key stakeholders in your organization who will need to be engaged in your process. Determine at what point you want to engage these leaders.
  2. If this is a big enough initiative, form a cross-functional buying committee that brings together multiple functions in the organization. The buy-in and insights of the committee members will be invaluable when securing budget and implementing the solution you choose.
  3. Have an initial brainstorming meeting with your internal stakeholders to get their ideas about how to solve the pain point. Then, work to establish a consensus around a proposed solution (either one from your original plan or a better one that comes about as part of the brainstorming).
  4. Set reminders for when you need to ping various parts of the organization. For example, a month out, you might put “Ask security for new vendor checklist to send to employee engagement vendors” in your calendar.
  5. Establish a biweekly update cadence to keep stakeholders in the loop on your progress. These updates could be as simple as a brief email (“We’ve done demos with five vendors and narrowed our list down to three. Here they are and what the next steps are with each”). In a more formal organization, you may want to set up a recurring monthly meeting.

Best Practices:

  1. Try to involve leaders from each of the key functions in your organization that matter to your initiative. For example, if you’re building a new career site, you probably need to get marketing and IT involved.
  2. Don’t allow your cross-functional buying committee to go off track. Remember, you are the leader. You don’t want a “too many cooks in the kitchen” situation. The people on the committee should be advisors to your project, but they should not feel as though the project is their baby.
  3. Leverage the power of the people in your committee to get the right message in front of the person who controls budget early. Parts of the organization that aren’t viewed as cost centers usually have more sway when getting new budget.
  4. The ideas of many people are better than the ideas of one. A great way to start building internal stakeholder buy-in is to hold an initial brainstorming session centered on potential solutions to your pain point.
  5. Keeping people up to date and asking them for the occasional piece of advice keeps them engaged and on your side during the process.
  6. This is a great chance to network across the organization and work with people you would otherwise only pass in the hallways.

Vendor Discovery

Goal: Develop a list of 5-7 vendors who could potentially help solve your pain point.

Vendor discovery can be proactive (e.g., researching a specific category of tool), or it can happen more organically through recommendations, conferences, cold outreach from salespeople, etc. However you come across your vendors, the goal here is to build a list of target vendors you will approach for demos.

The Process:

  1. Start with your network. Who are the 2-3 smartest people you know in HR or TA? Ask what they’d do in your situation and why. Try to understand their biases so you can figure out whether their advice is truly relevant to you.
  2. Google is your friend. An appropriate search for “best XYZ software” will give you a few lists to start with. Just be careful, as these lists can be full of random vendors that don’t even do what you’re looking for. Usually, the top 2-3 vendors of a list are the ones worth looking at. Also, any vendor buying Google ads for your “XYZ” keyword is definitely doing well! After all, they have the budget to buy expensive keyword ads, which can cost $100 per click!
  3. Check out online HR and recruiting groups, but be intentional in how you use them. Asking an open-ended question like “What’s the best ATS?” can generate lots of bad advice. Try something more detailed instead: “I’m looking for a new ATS to replace XYZ. We’re a 400-person, fast-growing, distributed team that does a lot of sourcing to find new talent. We want something with a built-in CRM and a robust partner network, as we want to keep using point solutions for onboarding. Any recommendations?”
  4. Hopefully you’ve built relationships with a few people on the vendor or thought-leadership side of things. Ask them for advice. The sales rep at your favorite HRIS company may have some insights into great ATSs on the market.

Best Practices:

  1. Be wary of online vendor lists. Many are put together for specific commercial reasons. Sometimes, the vendors on the list are the people who wrote it!
  2. Online review sites can also be biased. Some are only trying to capture your data so they can sell it to vendors. Others are trying to drive you to a specific vendor paying them per lead.
  3. Generally speaking, you should be aware of the biases behind any information you’re consuming online. Almost all the top results in Google are there because someone put a lot of hard work into achieving that ranking — and that hard work was done in order to make money.

Additionally, here are some tips on how to do vendor discovery when you’re not searching for a specific need:

  1. Set aside 45 minutes every two weeks to do a demo with a new solution that seems interesting. Don’t let just anyone snag that time on your calendar, but do be open to new ideas and ways of doing things.
  2. Always respond to a salesperson’s first email. If you don’t, they will email you 10 times and leave you five voicemails. That’s just the way the sales world operates. Take a minute to see what they are selling, figure out whether it’s worth your time, and then either ask for a demo, turn them down, or ask them to hit you back in a few months.
  3. Be open to being convinced. You never know when you’ll run into an interesting technology. If you’re too skeptical, you’ll never get the chance to be an early adopter. Of course, if you have shiny object syndrome, you need to be sure to limit yourself to that 45 minutes every two weeks.
  4. Trust your gut on what is worth your time and what is not. That’s the most efficient and effective way to vet inbound recommendations, emails, etc.

Staying Organized While Vetting Vendors

Goal: Keep relevant notes on vendors that you can reference as needed.

Life is busy, and we all have plenty of priorities to juggle. As a result, it’s not uncommon to lose track of valuable information. That’s why staying organized is essential when it comes to vetting vendors. You can only streamline the process and pick the right solution if you have all the information you need readily available.

The Process:

  1. Create a spreadsheet. Column A should list all the criteria by which you are evaluating the software, with each row dedicated to a specific criterion Each of the other columns should contain your notes on a given vendor.
  2. Create a list of 5-7 must-have criteria, plus 10-15 nice-to-have criteria.
  3. Include rows for how much you like your rep at each vendor and the pricing scheme for each vendor.

Best Practices:

  1. You can download a sample spreadsheet here if you don’t want to start from scratch.
  2. Check in with relevant stakeholders to ensure you include all the must-have criteria in your spreadsheet. There is nothing worse than realizing at the last minute your preferred vendor does not meet the necessary security criteria. You’re not aiming for an exhaustive list here — just the absolute must-haves from each stakeholder. There’s only so much you can ask a vendor in a 45-minute demo.
  3. The strength of your sales rep reflects the strength of the company. Top salespeople want to work at companies that have easy-to-sell products, and easy-to-sell products are usually good products.
  4. Trust is also important. Your sales rep may be representing you down the line during a broader meeting with your colleagues. You want to be sure the rep is someone you can trust to do a good job.
  5. Just as important as how much something costs is how that cost gets billed to your company. This may greatly impact the way you negotiate or how the pricing will change for your organization in the future.
  6. Use the spreadsheet on every call. No matter what you think, you won’t be able to simply memorize all the important details. Take notes in real time and make sure to get all your questions answered.
  7. If a salesperson tells you a feature is “coming,” ask when it will be live and how they know that. Really push them. Don’t be afraid to ask for an email from a product person so that you have something in writing — especially for essential features.

Early Stages of Vendor Vetting

Goal: Whittle your list down before the demo stage so you don’t spend hours on the phone with the wrong vendors.

In addition to the new HR tech initiative you’re heading up, you probably have plenty of everyday fires to fight. Time is of the essence. You don’t have room in your schedule for vendors that aren’t going to meet your needs. Before you move into the demo stage, use a few tricks to qualify your vendors digitally.

The Process:

  1. Spend 10 minutes researching how each vendor is doing by looking at employee headcount growth on LinkedIn, stock prices (public companies), funding rounds (private companies), the pedigree of the company’s senior management, and traffic patterns on SimilarWeb.
  2. Ask for demos from the 5-7 companies you’re interested in. When the sales rep responds, send them an email asking whether they meet your must-have criteria. Ask them to be as specific as possible. Mention you are moving quickly to buy a new piece of software and don’t want to waste your time or theirs. If a vendor doesn’t have all your must-haves, you can safely remove them from your list of targets.

Best Practices:

  1. The signals listed in step one of the process above are indicators of a company’s health and success, but they don’t obviously tell the whole story. For example, there are lots of amazing solutions available from profitable, bootstrapped companies that aren’t public and haven’t raised money from venture capitalists. The signals should only be used to disqualify vendors about which you’re on the fence (maybe a friend told you to be wary or something about the company’s website is giving you pause).
  2. Glassdoor reviews can skew more negative or positive than reality, but they are usually decent indicators of where the business is going. Positive reviews that seem genuine are a good thing. When things go south, the reviews do, too.

Demos

Goal: Refine your list to the top 1-2 vendors you want to partner with.

Obviously, the best way to figure out whether a solution will be valuable to your company is to sit through a demo and get all of your burning questions answered.

The Process:

  1. Cluster all of the demos in the space of two weeks so that you can compare options while they are still fresh in your mind.
  2. Take control of the call. Set an agenda that ensures you get all of your questions answered. Maybe you start by going through your spreadsheet and asking all your questions. Maybe you let the rep go through the demo with the expectation that you will be interrupting occasionally.

Best Practices:

  1. Salespeople are protective of their time. Make sure they know you are worth their time by outlining the schedule you’re on and assuring them you have the power to make a purchase happen.
  2. Salespeople can be a tremendous resource when buying new HR tech. Treat them as partners, and they will usually do the same to help you understand the product, landscape, and buying process.
  3. Make sure to take notes and keep filling out your spreadsheet!

Internal Stakeholder Management, Part 2

Goal: Ensure that everything is in place internally to move forward with buying this new HR solution.

You don’t want any last-minute roadblocks to pop up when you are ready to select a vendor. It’s important to ensure all key stakeholders are on the same page and prepared to move forward.

The Process:

  1. Put together a presentation or document that outlines the problem you’re addressing, why this problem matters to the organization, the work you’ve done to research solutions, how you’re going to solve this problem through new HR tech, and how your solution will impact the business.
  2. Reassemble the cross-functional buying committee. This is a great time to reinvigorate those relationships so that you have the necessary firepower to win over skeptical stakeholders.
  3. Get oral or written confirmation from every stakeholder to ensure everyone is on the same page and excited to move forward.

Best Practices:

  1. Use as much data as possible to defend your position. Some of this will come from the vendor, from articles on various sites, and from your peer network of HR/TA practitioners.
  2. This is basically a sales process. You’re now selling the solution internally. Take on the persona of your sales rep. Get people excited about this initiative and motivate them to take action.

Contract Negotiation

Goal: Get the best price and terms you can without severely delaying the buying process.

You want to get the best price for your new software, and you also want to understand the key terms that may impact your relationship with this vendor. Be sure you fully understand how a contract can be cancelled, data-sharing agreements, data security, and other important factors you internal stakeholders care about.

The Process:

  1. Get an initial quote over the phone from the vendor. Ask them how they arrived at this quote. What is their pricing model (seats, employees, etc.)?
  2. Ask them how much wiggle room there is for negotiating straight up.
  3. Ask them what matters to them and where there is room to adjust. The goal is to identify the levers that can be pulled on both sides to make everyone happy.

Best Practices:

  1. Nearly every company that doesn’t list pricing on its website has room to negotiate.
  2. Start contract negotiations before a single vendor has totally won you over. If you are dead set on moving forward with a given solution, you are going to lose leverage.
  3. Most vendors will give discounts for things like multiyear deals, upfront payment, case study data, and offering to be a customer reference.
  4. Many HR software companies will also give discounts on one-time fees like implementation. In most cases, the board cares less about low margin one-time revenues than what you are paying each year for the software itself.
  5. Don’t allow your competitive streak to come out. You don’t want to get too contentious.
  6. Don’t allow negotiations to drag on for so long that you lose focus on the actual task at hand.
  7. Always act in good faith. This isn’t a game of poker.

Final Vendor Vetting

Goal: Select one vendor to move forward with.

This is it, the end of the line for buying your new HR tech. You have internal buy-in, you’ve done your homework on the space, and you’ve narrowed your options down to one vendor. It’s time for some confirmatory due diligence.

The Process:

  1. Ask to speak to one current customer that can act as a reference for the vendor.
  2. Try to find another customer through your network that isn’t recommended by the vendor. Talk to them as well.

Best Practices:

  1. Customer references can be anything from a few text messages to an in-person meeting, depending on the scope of the project.
  2. Be wary of software review websites. Because of the way these reviews are collected, they can be incredibly positively biased. Look up the reviews on 2-3 pieces of HR tech you know to be garbage to see what we mean.
  3. Any reference call with a vendor-recommended customer should be used to get a feel for how the customer uses the solution, their implementation process, and other fact-based questions. Subjective and open-ended questions like “How much do you like the product?” will yield biased, unhelpful results.

Capturing Value

Goal: Understand and communicate the value your new HR software has brought to the organization.

You bought your software. You went through the full implementation process. Now, people are using the tool and you can determine whether your initial ROI model was correct.

This is an amazing time to learn and gain credibility in the organization (even if the project was a failure). Looking back at our processes and outcomes allows us to be better managers, buyers of software, and colleagues. The focus of this part of the buying process should be on learning.

The Process:

  1. Revisit your original ROI model and any other materials you prepared to get internal buy-in for your initiative.
  2. Scrutinize what you were right about and what went wrong.
  3. Write up a postmortem on your learnings, including the business impact your initiative had in terms of ROI. Share your learnings with your colleagues in HR and any others who were involved in the buying process. Use whatever medium makes the most sense (a lunch-and-learn, a webinar, a blog post, etc.).
  4. Congratulate yourself on a job well done with a nice dinner!

Best Practices:

  1. Be as analytically rigorous as possible to determine why the assumptions you made in your initial model were right or wrong and what you learned from each scenario.
  2. Be proud of what you accomplished. Make sure that everyone in the organization knows how thoughtful you were and the impact your initiative made.

There you have it: a comprehensive process for buying new HR tech. Hopefully, the next time you’re in the market for a new solution, this guide can help you navigate the complexities of tech buying.

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

Phil Strazzulla is the founder of SelectSoftware.

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You Don’t Have to Break the Bank to Effectively Train Employees

pencil

Being a small business owner is tough. Many days are cycles of reviewing and adjusting your company budget to account for every cent so operations can run smoothly. It can be a tedious and thankless task, but it’s an important one. To put it simply, when you don’t have enough cash flow to pay employees, you’re not in business anymore. I know from personal experience that is a really bad day.

Just as stressful as maintaining consistent cash flow — and integral to achieving that cash flow — is finding and keeping good employees. What you may not know is that pay and benefits aren’t the only way to make people stay. In fact, according to LinkedIn’s “2019 Workplace Learning Report,” 94 percent of employees would stick around longer if an employer invested in their learning and development.

When you’re pinching pennies, however, training can seem like a huge request. Sure, it sounds good on paper: Training improves your employees’ skills and gives them more confidence, leading to higher productivity, increased loyalty to your company, and a bottom-line boost. The biggest issue is cost. Popular training programs can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and many require travel to complete. When you’re tirelessly working to keep your budget in check, that may not seem realistic.

But the thing is, your employees really do want that training. Most people want to achieve more at work. They want satisfaction in their jobs. They are looking for purpose, for ways to be of value to the company.

Think about it like this: Professional athletes don’t stop working on themselves once they’ve been drafted. Instead, their teams give them access to gyms, physical therapists, sports medical experts, and other resources to maximize their performance. The owners who invested in them would not be too happy if they stopped being their best after the contract was signed.

Your employees are the same way. To stay on top of their games, they need to refresh their skills and continuously learn new things. How can you make that happen without breaking the bank?

4 Cost-Free Ways to Train Employees

It’s more possible than you might think. Below are four ways to train your employees for little or no cost. I have personally used all of these suggestions, so I know they are really powerful:

1. YouTube

Seriously? Yes!

YouTube isn’t all adorable puppy compilations and ridiculous attention-seeking antics; it also hosts a lot of very helpful training videos in a lot of different fields. Many experts maintain free YouTube channels and regularly update them. On YouTube, you can learn everything from how to master certain software platforms to how to be a better leader — and more. It takes a little digging to find the gems, but the valuable videos are there.

2. Vendor Training

Most software vendors offer training services as part of their standard packages. Don’t hesitate to use this to your advantage. You can ask a representative to teach on a specific topic or give a thorough introduction to the whole software — whatever your team needs most. Many vendors are amenable to either in-person or webinar-based training, so you have convenient options.

3. Coursera

One of my favorite training resources is Coursera, where thousands of courses are available through reputable universities. If you don’t need a formal certificate upon course completion, the free audit option is a great way to get training. When you audit a course, you do not participate in the quizzes and tests, but you still gain plenty of knowledge.

4. Podcasts

There’s a podcast for practically everything you could ever want to know about business. If you’re not subscribed to at least one podcast, you should change that now. You may need a little extra concentration to absorb the audio-only information, but by taking notes and referring to them later, you can get really good training.

For more innovative HR insights, check out the latest issue of Recruiter.com Magazine:

Create Your Own Training

Depending on your industry, you may also have the option to start from scratch and create your own training programs. Videos are a particularly good option — and they’re affordable. All you need is a phone and a decent microphone. You can go really fancy and do them off-site with visuals, but even simply shooting at your desk works.

If you do decide you want to create your own training videos, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Be aware of your background. Before you record, take a look at what people will see. You don’t want viewers to pay more attention to the background than to you.
  2. Get the lighting right. If you have florescent lights in the area where you’re recording, think about bringing in some natural light. For best results, the natural light should face you. Lighting from behind makes you look like a shadow. I’ve done videos with a piece of paper taped over a desk light and wrapping paper tacked on the wall as a backdrop. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just effective.
  3. Have an outline or a script. Improvising is great if you can do that, but if you’re uncomfortable working on the fly, create a script. You can write it on cue cards/poster board or download a teleprompter app. I tend to get more nervous reading a script, so I stick to an outline, which generally includes key topics and notes about examples to cover during the video.
  4. Overthinking it can destroy your video. You are your own worst critic, so ease up on yourself. People like it when you’re relatable, so don’t try to be perfect. I’ve found that the more times I record something to make it better, the less energy and enthusiasm I have and the more mistakes I make. You can always reshoot segments or edit your video after the fact, so don’t get too hung up on getting it right.
  5. When in doubt, KISS (keep it simple, silly)! You could spend days perfecting your video, but remember why you’re doing this in the first place: to train your employees. You don’t always need transitions, music, and other frills. Some of the best videos I’ve shot are just me, a good background, and my little paper-covered desk light.

When it comes to training, there are more affordable opportunities available than you might realize. Free training can be extremely effective for your employees and your business. Not only will your employees appreciate the initiative and feel more valuable, but they will also perform at a higher level and boost your business overall.

Jen Teague teaches startups and business owners how to minimize the headaches of bad hiring decisions. Her podcast on recruiting and hiring for small businesses and startups, #BeAHiringHero, is available on all popular podcast platforms.

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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Criminal Monitoring in a Tight Job Market: Employers Learn to Balance Scrutiny With Speed

board

You’ve seen the headlines, the ones practically screaming about how low the unemployment rate is (holding steady around 3.6 percent) or how there aren’t enough active candidates to meet current hiring demands. By now, the situation is well-documented and, despite some underlying speculation, doesn’t seem to be going away.

Less visible behind these headlines are the hours upon hours recruiters and talent acquisition professionals spend looking for the next right-fit candidate under these conditions. As part of the already lengthy standard recruiting process, we’re also seeing a steady uptick in the use of background screening, drug testing, and criminal monitoring. In fact, these things have become nearly universal, with 96 percent of companies in the US conducting some form of background screening.

Hiring is hard enough amid the talent shortage — so why are so many employers taking the seemingly contradictory step of adding extra elements to their processes? It seems likely that increased background screening corresponds at least in part with rising workplace assault rates. In 2011, there were 11,690 nonfatal injuries and illnesses caused by workplace assaults in the US; in 2017, there were 18,400.

Whether this increase is apparent to candidates remains to be seen, but organizations across industries have taken note. That said, the tight labor market still exerts pressure on employers. This puts organizations in the difficult spot of balancing their need for increased scrutiny with greater tolerance for background discrepancies to ensure hires get made. Complicating matters are the specific needs of certain job categories that make it nearly impossible to offer leniency at any stage of employment.

For more innovative HR insights, check out the latest issue of Recruiter.com Magazine:

Making Room for Tolerance Without Putting Your Organization at Risk

The traditional model for background screening, preemployment checks do precisely what they say: search a potential employee’s past for application discrepancies that may preclude them from success in a given position. The most obvious example would be a driver with a poor record or a history of DUI convictions; another might be a retail worker convicted of shoplifting or theft. The possibility of such scenarios may account for a noted spike in orders for criminal records screening, such as felony including misdemeanor (up 14 percent), National Sex Offender Registry (up 46 percent), and national criminal files (up 38 percent). Overall, this research noted a 16 percent increase in criminal records searches at a global level between 2017 and 2018. That’s a significant jump, and it tells us that even though the talent market remains competitive, employers are keen to complete their due diligence before making an offer.

So where does tolerance fit into the equation? Research indicates that best-in-class companies are reviewing their procedures for handling returned criminal records on an annual basis. This likely stems from the need to prioritize turnaround time above all else in screening candidates, to the point that speed outranks risk and cost when it comes to employers’ priorities. Using what’s referred to as “decisional adjudication matrices,” employers can choose to include or exclude factors in their background screenings, such as certain criminal charges and educational or government ID inconsistencies. These matrices use lists of preset guidelines to analyze background check results and determine whether a candidate is eligible for hire. If the position needs to be filled quickly, employers may become more willing to overlook earlier discrepancies, but only if the applicant’s ability to perform the job is not affected by those discrepancies. Eighty-three percent of decisional cases ultimately moving to eligible, suggesting employers are offering candidates significant leeway.

More Organizations Are Monitoring Employees Beyond the Recruitment Life Cycle

Another tool gaining traction is continuous records monitoring. Rather than a one-and-done prehire approach, this type of screening is constant, continuing on even after a candidate has been hired. Employers are alerted whenever an employee or contractor engages in reportable criminal records activity. Employers often use this type of screening for positions that require an additional level of trust or certification, like the drivers mentioned above or in industries such as healthcare, education, and financial services.

People risks occur at random, and data we’ve gathered from our customers at First Advantage indicates as much as 1 percent of an employee population may be convicted of a crime while employed. For many organizations, that makes it essential to maintain a close watch on employees at all times. A continuous monitoring approach allows employers to consider criminal records histories on an individual basis, take appropriate action promptly, and limit risks to their brands, customers, and workforces.

In an era marked by incidents of workplace violence, a call to action to end sexual harassment, and rapidly evolving compliance regulations, it’s up to employers to determine how they handle criminal records monitoring. Either way, background screening is a critical step in understanding who your candidates are and what they can bring to your company.

Katharine Voyles Mobley is the chief marketing officer for First Advantage.

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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12 Career Fair Tips to Help You Land the Job in 2019

fair

Career fairs offer an unparalleled opportunity to network with a variety of businesses and can help you get your foot in the doors of top companies in your industry.

Employers take career fairs seriously. In fact, according to Glassdoor, “Career fairs and on-campus recruiting account for almost 75 percent of employers’ recruiting budgets. … Add on travel, hotel, and food expenses, and the budget adds up quickly. And, employers average four career fairs each academic year.”

If employers take these events seriously, candidates should, too. With so many other students and professionals working the fair, however, it is not always easy to stand out and make a lasting impression. So, we’ve compiled the top 12 career fair tips to help anyone attending one of these networking events be successful.

12 Career Fair Tips to Help You Land the Job in 2019

1. Dress for Success

Proper career fair attire varies according to your industry. If you’re looking for a job in finance or a law firm, for example, you may want to dress more conservatively than someone seeking a career in bringing innovation to market. Attire can’t really help you, but it can hurt you, so keep it neat, clean, and appropriate. A good rule of thumb is to stand out for your abilities, not for your sense of style.

2. Do Your Research

Find out which companies will have a presence at the career fair. Scan their websites and identify the ones you find most interesting, and then go back and read their sites more carefully. Jot down the most important information, such as their missions, key products and services, and maybe one or two things the companies say about their cultures.

“The more you know about an organization and the types of positions they hire for,” reports Business Insider, “the better you will come across to the employer.”

3. Have Business Cards Made

Business cards may seem old-fashioned when professionals interact on LinkedIn, but these little pieces of paper provide a quick and easy way for recruiters to remember you and reach out to you again. It might feel pretentious, but make sure your cards have your picture on them. That way, if the recruiter remembers your face but not your name, it’s an easy match. You can also put a QR code on the back to take scanners directly to your LinkedIn account.

4. Create a Solid, Modern Resume

Many professionals talk about the death of the resume, and in some circumstances, they may be right. At a career fair, though, you’ll want to have that piece of paper in hand in case a recruiter wants to do a quick interview. Your resume doesn’t have to list every job you’ve worked since your teens, but it does need to tell a complete, comprehensive, and focused story about your professional life. Ask your career services office for help drafting your resume, or at the very least, get a friend to proofread it before you make copies.

5. Draft an Elevator Speech

Express who you are, what you do, and what you are looking for in 75 words or 30 seconds — the time it takes to ride an elevator a couple of floors. Don’t punt this one. Write it down and learn it cold before you go in. A well-crafted, skillfully delivered elevator speech is key to securing an interview with your target companies. Find out how to draft an elevator pitch from a career-focused site such as Indeed.

6. Prepare Answers to Likely Questions About Yourself

Interested recruiters will likely want to know a little about you. This is your chance to shine, so don’t be shy. Talk about your education, internships, previous jobs, professional philosophy, and goals. You probably won’t get a one-hour grilling, but you could get 2-5 minutes to share about yourself. Take full advantage of it by preparing in advance.

7. Talk to as Many Recruiters as Possible

Much of job searching consists of a numbers game. The more recruiters you talk to, the better your chance of getting a solid lead. While you want to stay focused on your list of priority companies, don’t be afraid to approach others. An in-person meeting might reveal a great match with an employer you didn’t know about.

8. Ask Thoughtful Questions

Recruiters don’t want to do all the talking. They expect you to speak up, too. Questions to ask at a career fair include: What’s your office culture like? What career paths are available in your company? What kind of mentoring and training opportunities do you offer?

9. Keep Hydrated and Healthy

Bring along a water bottle. You may also want to tuck a packet of nuts, a small piece of fruit, or a baggie of carrot sticks in beside it. Searching for a job is hungry, thirsty work. You’ll be walking, standing, talking, and working on high alert all day, and you’ll need refreshment.

10. Stay Energized and Upbeat Throughout the Day

Your attitude constitutes one of the most powerful elements of the job search. Recruiters are looking for cheerful, positive, energetic people. You don’t want to be fake, but you do want to present your best self. If you feel your smile slipping or you’re having trouble concentrating, take a quick break. A discreet snack, a 10-minute timeout, and a trip to the bathroom can have you feeling chipper again in no time.

11. Send a Follow-Up Email

You landed a good conversation, handed over your resume, and snagged a business card in return. Give yourself a quick pat on the back, and then send a follow-up email within 48 hours. Simply remind the recruiter where you met, say thank you, and offer to answer any additional questions. After two or three sentences, sign off. Being short shows you respect the recruiter’s time.

12. Cultivate Your ‘Wow’ Factor

The career fair will likely be full of people whose resumes, backgrounds, and interests are similar to yours. You can’t rely on the facts alone to make you stand out as a candidate. You’ll also need to cultivate those often-discussed soft skills. Knowing how to start a conversation at a career fair (or even better, how to end one) can make the difference between getting a call back and getting your resume dumped in the slush pile. Carefully consider the unique image you want to convey, and then make sure your word choices, clothes, and manners convey that image.

In an era that puts a premium on soft skills and personal touches, engaging with potential employers at career fairs can be the key to landing a valuable position. Most employers expect professionals seeking a new career to have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher or to be enrolled in a university program. St. Ambrose University offers an online business administration degree that allows you to earn your degree through a student-centered approach.

Our curriculum is grounded in the liberal arts and taught by experienced faculty with real-world business experience. You’ll learn relevant skills through a dynamic curriculum that is designed with your success in mind. And because our program is fully online, you can study on a flexible schedule and balance your coursework with your life.

Recruiter.com regularly features reviews, articles, and press releases from leading businesses. This featured article may include paid promotion or affiliate links. Please make every effort to perform due diligence when selecting products and services for your business or investment needs and compare information from a variety of sources. Use this article for general and informational purposes only.

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.
Like this article? We also offer tons of free eBooks on career and recruiting topics – check out Get a Better Job the Right Way and Why It Matters Who Does Your Recruiting.

Employees Demand Better Wellness Benefits — and That’s Good News for Employers

punch

Traditional benefits offerings are no longer sufficient in the eyes of many employees. Today, workers’ expectations are changing, and employees are holding their employers to higher standards when it comes to workplace perks and benefits packages.

With the threat of burnout looming large, employees are centering workplace wellness, asking their employers to help them live healthier lifestyles at home and at work. The employers who are listening are responding by offering new arrays of wellness benefits. Those that fail to heed workers’ demands may be jeopardizing their relationships with current and future employees.

Employees Want Employers to Be Partners in Their Health

Long hours, prolonged periods of sitting, and constant stress used to be par for the course at work. However, many now recognize the negative effects these things can have on a person’s physical and mental health. Employee burnout is on the rise, and research has shown its effects extend far beyond the office: Those who feel significant work-related stress are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors like overeating, leading to weight gain and decreased stamina.

Regular fitness routines would likely help combat unhealthy workplace behaviors, but with very little free time and tight finances, many employees simply can’t make physical fitness a priority. That’s why workers are increasingly turning to their employers for support.

For more innovative HR insights, check out the latest issue of Recruiter.com Magazine:

It’s no wonder employees want to incorporate more fitness into their lives. Physical activity can reduce anxiety and stress and promote the release of endorphins, which are like natural painkillers. Studies show that as little as 15 minutes of exercise a day can help reduce depression, one of the leading causes of employee burnout and turnover.

Physical fitness can also boost employee work performance. Employees who stay active tend to have more energy, which allows them to be more productive while at work. Moreover, regular exercise can improve memory, thinking skills, and mood. Exercise can also offer relief for aches, tension, and chronic pain, all of which can prevent employees from being comfortable and focused during the workday if left untreated.

A recent survey on employee attitudes toward wellness benefits resulted in some findings that should be concerning to employers. More than half of respondents said wellness benefits were the most important factor in the workplace, while slightly less than half of respondents also said they considered their employers responsible for their health. Almost two-thirds of respondents said they would leave their current jobs for opportunities with better work perks, showing that employers need to take their employees’ health seriously or risk losing top talent.

Employee Wellness Is Organizational Wellness

Employers naturally want to increase productivity, retain staff, and attract new talent. Offering fitness-focused benefits like discounted gym memberships, in-office gyms, and group fitness incentives is one key way to keep top talent energized, satisfied, and free of burnout.

However, as employers start to offer fitness benefits, they must also take steps to ensure employees are encouraged and incentivized to use those benefits. There are simple ways to do this: sponsoring team fitness activities, offering healthy snack options in the office, and helping employees incorporate fitness — even in small ways — into their daily schedules.

Employers should go beyond physical fitness to support employee wellness holistically.  Encourage employees to use PTO days when they need to recharge and destress. Introduce mandatory breaks throughout the day to help employees unwind and get some quick exercise in.

When you encourage and support employee health and fitness, you can be confident your employees’ work output will be exceptional. You will also build more goodwill with both current and future employees.

Moreover, companies that offer fitness benefits are also more likely to attract employees who already live active lifestyles. As your workplace grows healthier, employees will use fewer and fewer sick days, burnout will become less of a risk, and you may even be able to reduce your overall health insurances costs.

Employers should take note of the risk of not offering robust employee wellness benefits. An unhealthy workplace not only hurts the individual employee, but it can also hurt the overall success of the organization, as stressed, lethargic employees produce subpar work. In order to attract and retain healthy, happy, motivated employees, employers should offer wellness benefits that help workers and the organization alike.

Paul O’Reilly-Hyland is CEO and founder of Zeamo.

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.
Like this article? We also offer tons of free eBooks on career and recruiting topics – check out Get a Better Job the Right Way and Why It Matters Who Does Your Recruiting.

Single-Mom CEO? 8 Tips for Navigating the Challenges

meditate

I started my New York City staffing agency six years ago, when my daughters were 2, 4, and 6 years old. It made sense to me: Parenting had taught me valuable skills that I felt prepared me to run a business — notably, multitasking, budgeting, organizing, and scheduling. Sure, I’d need to find a way to build strong relationships with clients while continuing to nurture the precious relationships I had at home. No problem, I thought. I’m prepared.

I wasn’t. I didn’t recognize the magnitude of time and energy required to get a business off the ground. It was very much like having another baby — a labor of love, most certainly, but also a monumental responsibility. Somehow, though, I found my way, my balance, even when divorce reared its ugly head. I kept my cool, put policies and processes into place, and turned time management into an art form.

If you’re in a similar place — thinking of starting a company or already in the midst of it — here are some tips that may help you build a thriving business while being a spectacular mom:

1. Be Kind to Yourself

Yes, this is No. 1. Think of it as putting your oxygen mask on first. You need to be whole and strong to nurture your children and your business. This means being understanding about your own human limits rather than feeling guilty when you’re away from your kids, but then also feeling guilty about “neglecting” your business when you’re with them. Don’t let that guilt pattern take hold. Give yourself permission to spend time on your business (it needs a lot in its early days) in addition to caring for and enjoying time with your kids. Remember to get plenty of sleep, eat right, and schedule some me time every day.

2. Come to Grips With the Reality That You Can’t Always Be There for Everyone

Trying to be all things to all people at all times is an exercise in futility. What’s a smarter strategy? Prioritizing and keeping a well-thought-out calendar. Which school or extracurricular events are most important? Which meetings require you, rather than another company representative, to be at the table? Planning ahead can help you avoid most conflicts. When conflicts do happen, just make the best decision you can.

3. Focus!

When you’re at work, focus on work. When you’re with your family, focus on family. Each needs your undivided attention and care. How do you explain to your children that sometimes work has to take priority? I tell mine that it doesn’t mean I love them any less; it just means it’s work time. They need to learn the importance of a strong work ethic. When you demonstrate that work is to be taken seriously, you become a role model for their own future professionalism.

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4. Stick to a Routine

Structure is good for children and parents alike. Everyone knows what the expectations are, where they need to be, and how they need to behave to fulfill their role in the family dynamic.

5. Be Creative About Time Management

Maintaining my sanity requires regular workouts, but since workouts can eat up time, I looked into starting an exercise program for moms and kids to work out together at my gym. I get my workout while also spending time with my daughters. Bonus: The kids learn to love working out and make it part of their daily routine.

6. Build a Support Network

This can be professional mentors, other moms, family members, a nanny or babysitter, neighbors, friends — you name it. Just make sure you have a community to lend a hand or sympathetic ear when you need one.

When might you need support? When you get held up in a meeting and can’t make it to pick your child up from school. When you need advice for making your company operations more efficient. When you think your head might explode because you’re being pulled in a hundred directions. A kind voice, a grounding conversation, professional advice, and an extra pair of hands are all part of a healthy single-mom CEO ecosystem.

7. Understand That Your Company Will Experience Ups and Downs

Just like your kids, your business will fall and scrape its knees once in a while. But guess what? Just like your kids, it has the potential to grow stronger from that experience. Don’t let the normal roller coaster of running a business dampen your spirits or conviction.

8. Reflect on the Good Stuff

When you’re under the pressure of being CEO of your business and your home, it’s easy to forget why you wanted to build the company in the first place. Celebrate your achievements, large and small, and remind yourself how great it feels to be your own boss, to build something that is yours (and yours to hand down to your children). You have taken on the challenge of not only supporting your kids but also showing them by example that they can do anything they set their minds to.

Once you’ve mastered these strategies, your life can become calmer and easier. Of course, they’re not foolproof — sometimes I still have to lock myself in the bathroom to talk with clients — but for the most part, they strengthen your potential for building a successful business while raising some pretty incredible kids.

Ariel Schur, LCSW, is CEO and Founder of ABS Staffing Solutions.

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