IMPROVE YOUR PERSONAL BRAND DURING TIMES OF DRAMATIC CHANGE
Candidate Tip – Improve your personal brand during times of dramatic change | Connector Team Recruiting.jpg

When there is major change at an organization, it’s never an easy transition for employees like you who remain with the company. After all, you’ve given many months and even years to the business. There’s a good chance you’ve spent more time with your manager and fellow employees than with some of your closest friends during that period. 

Nearly every executive with a career of significant length will most likely experience a dramatic change or shift within their company. These include; a leadership change, a massive restructuring or a change of control according to Bill O’Malley, Executive Recruiter.  However, when there an organizational change – you’ll want to do your best to ensure you’re in the optimal position for future advancement at the organization. If you’re an all-star employee, chances are you’ll be asked to stay on with the company. That can mean a big opportunity for you to achieve growth and career advancement. 

Therefore, it’s important that you’re prepared to gain the skills you need, to be as successful as possible, during this potentially tumultuous time. According to a Forbes article by John Feldmann, this process, called upskilling, can be a crucial part of a changing company. “By upskilling current employees, companies can fill open positions while retaining their current workforce by creating learning opportunities,” he notes.  

Here are three strategies you can follow when your company goes through big changes and you want to make the most of the situation:

 1. Speak with the company’s leadership to understand the skills they need most

As soon as you find out that your company is going through change, speak with your manager as well as with any other company leaders you trust with your career. By doing so, you’ll show that you’re eager to learn more about the situation and are willing to do whatever it takes to help the company move forward.

That’s something the Harvard Business Review recommends in an article about difficult reorganizations: “Once you’ve absorbed the planned changes, you need to think about what they mean for your day-to-day responsibilities and your potential job satisfaction.”

 After requesting to speak with leadership, take some time to think about the value you can bring to your organization. Reflect on the successes you’ve had, so that you can highlight them during these meetings. By doing your homework ahead of time, you’ll show your manager and others that you have an impressive ability to plan and a commitment to succeeding when times are tough.

During these meetings, it’s also important to ask what they’ll be looking for most from the team after the change has been enacted. Their answers can give you valuable information on how you can train and upskill yourself in the coming months.

 2. Make use of online platforms that can help you learn

 After a reorganization, responsibilities and roles are often condensed, so it’s all hands-on deck. You may find that you’re now responsible for new day-to-day tasks that you hadn’t previously performed. Having spoken with company leadership, you will be one step ahead, with invaluable knowledge to help you succeed in the new environment.

The next step is to learn as much as possible and gain the skills necessary for advancement. Helpful websites include LinkedIn Learning and Udemy. Both offer thousands of online tutorials, taught by world-renowned experts, that can truly help you thrive during this pivotal moment in your career and your company’s journey.

Consider taking courses in topics such as: 

-       Leadership and management

-       Data science

-       Business software and tools

-       Communication and public speaking

 3. Consider enrolling in a certificate or degree program

Beyond learning about potential growth opportunities and taking one-off online courses, you can turn upcoming organizational change into a chance to go back to school or earn a certificate to boost your skill set. 

While online learning platforms are great for gaining knowledge about specific subjects, getting a master’s degree or a certificate from an accredited institution can make you truly invaluable. Many reputable universities now offer online master’s programs, making it that much easier for working professionals to continue their education.  

There are many instances where your company can help you achieve this goal. For example, some organizations have tuition reimbursement or assistance programs that can help you earn a degree at a reduced rate. To begin this process, simply read through your employee benefits resource information or contact the human resources department. 

Additionally, you should initiate a conversation with your manager once you start considering enrolling in an educational program. This will do a couple important things: first, it’ll express your commitment to upward mobility at your company. It will also help you to determine workplace flexibility opportunities, that potentially can include adjustments to your work schedule to make a degree program work for you (and your team). 

Ultimately, transformation at your company doesn’t have to be frightening, or damaging to your career. Instead, use this period as a time for self-growth and to gain new skills. You’ll then be able to pivot to bigger roles and more responsibilities in the wake of major change.

SHORTAGE OF TALENT? - HIRE A PERENNIAL!
Hire a Perennial | Connector Team Recruiting.jpg

We find that nearly every company is looking for a new talent pool or channel to market their jobs to the all important entry level skill positions.  I’ve recently been hearing about the perennial candidates (workers aged 55 and older) and it reminded me of this great opportunity and a labor segment that people can tend to ignore because of misinformation and perception. This worker segment is generally retired and wanting a job to stay busy or currently employed and looking for a second income.

How large is this talent pool?

So why is this an attractive hiring target. Let’s look at the numbers.  In the 30-year span from 1994 to 2024, workers aged 55 and older will go from being the smallest segment of the US working population to the largest, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to a prominent Stanford Professor Laura Carsensen, she believes its America’s older citizens who are the Nation’s greatest unused resource.

Think about that last statement. If you can tap into this resource, you’ll find your company will have a new recruiting channel to focus on.  Whether you operate a store, a distribution center a manufacturing plant or a call center you surely have knowledge-based jobs that are currently unfilled. These jobs require committed people and in many of these roles they interact with your internal or external customers.

Eliminating the myth about older workers

First and foremost, let’s try to dispel the myth that older workers are slow and less productive. Here is some research about the perception that older workers are less productive? The AARP found exciting new research by German economist Axel Borsch-Supan. He found that there is some reduction in productivity for very unskilled jobs. But with knowledge-based jobs, you see an increase in productivity with age. Then it levels off. It doesn’t go down.

Early career in my career as a Regional Manager overseeing Operations/HR and all Hiring in Southern California where we had a labor shortage at the time, I came across this labor pool purely by accident and a bit of desperation at the time. We tapped into this pool for Office and Customer Service roles within the company.  The myth and bias including my own that I had to break down included; older workers tend to be more methodical and slower. I found just the opposite was true, in fact; they proved to be very committed, had lower absenteeism rates and had higher overall accuracy. My experience with two hires that I recall from this period Connie and Jan, were dependable, hard-working and loyal. In fact, they were so good I still remember their names 20 plus years later .

How do you hire older workers?  Think flex options and a 20 to 25-hour workweeks. I tend to believe that 25-hour weeks and more part time flex schedules are  going to gain even more popularity in the next decade as the projected labor shortage continues and this segment of the population ages.

There are lots of resources on social media where you can tap into organizations and senior centers to post your jobs and source this additional pool of talent.

Start a conversation with your team

I know it’s a tough environment, I hear it from my clients every day across the country. The next time someone says, “we can’t find any qualified people for the role” you have a great  opportunity to start a conversation with your team about this segment. Start by responding with, let’s have a meeting and talk about ways we can tap into the Perennial workforce. Involve HR in the conversation, they most likely already understand this segment and they can help in the sourcing and resource effort.

So, there you have it, go out and hire a Perennial and tap into this growing segment.  I can almost guarantee that injecting some of this talent and knowledge into your workforce will also have plus Benefits.

IMPROVE YOUR COMPANY CAREER WEB PAGE AND GAIN ACCESS TO MORE JOB APPLICANTS
Improve your Career Web Page and gain access to more job applicants_Connector Team Recruiting-01.png

Today we firmly believe that to attract the best talent to your company it’s critical that your branding message extend all the way to the Career Page. Nothing tells a candidate more about a company and their brand than how the company communicates with their potential applicants.

Building a talent pipeline

Research today confirms that today’s job seeker and talent is seeking quick interaction with hiring managers and they want a do-it-myself level experience. If your website does not provide ease in the application process and transparency, you may be losing out on connecting with great candidates. The user experience is becoming more important to both hiring managers and candidates…more so than ever before.  The candidate wants a clear path to the hiring manager and conversely the hiring authority wants a system that can track candidates through the process. This is what I call building a talent pipeline.

Take a test drive on your career page – from a user level viewpoint

If you’re wondering why you’re not getting lots of applicants online and unable to create that all important pipeline of candidates starts with a review from the “user level viewpoint”.  

Step one:

Begin by going to your career site and starting out like an applicant. One more thing…make sure you do the review from a mobile device.  Start this process on your own write out notes.  

Step Two:

Engage with a Millennial and or Gen Y candidate and ask them to apply online and then ask them to provide you with their feedback.

As you review your site focus on two key areas. How does your career site portray your brand to the applicant and is there ease and transparency found within the applicant experience?

Branding review checklist

  1. Review the Competition: Would your Careers or Employment site page attract top talent candidates from your competition? How does it compare to your competitor’s sites?

  2. History and Culture: Do you have a page that tells the company story and describe the culture and top reasons to work for the company?

  3. Benefits: Are benefits summarized and highlighted. Note: how do they match up with your competition?

  4. Success Stories | Career Pathing: Does your site relate success stories within the company about current employees.

  5. Community Involvement: What does your page communicate about your company and its interaction with the local communities within your trade areas?

  6. Job posting links: all job postings should be linked back to your page even if you are using an aggregator board like Indeed, Career Builder etc.

Checklist of what the online applicant looks for

  1. Is it easy to apply are there links to get the relevant job information?

  2. Does it tell them clearly what they need and how long the process will take?

  3. Is there an applicant tracking system or some type of pipeline system in place?

  4. Can they apply using their LINKEDIN or Facebook profile and sign in?

  5. Does the candidate get a response and the ability to opt in for more information and updates from the company when a new position of interest is posted?

Getting this type of feedback is critical.  Your goal is to determine if you online application process is easy and mobile friendly.

Case Study

A few month ago, I spoke with a client who was having difficulty in hiring entry level support positions including the critical commission sales role.  They were frustrated that they were not seeing any applications coming in and they rarely got any e-mails from applicants from their website.  Note: This company has a very good website including online transaction capability and multiple stores within their region.  They operate in a highly competitive marketplace.

After a quick review of their website I found the following:

In addition to sending your resume as an attachment to a HR@ address they required a big extra step.  They asked the applicant to print out a PDF document, fill it out send it back.  Sounds easy right? Not so fast.

Candidates today are used to using their smart phone for everything.  Today there are apps to do everything asked on the smart device/phone however, this added step of requiring an applicant to print out a PDF document is a definite turn off for many candidates. Also, the reply e-mail was to a generic HR address which is a complete lack of transparency in the process. I affectionately call this type of system “the resume wilderness”.

As you’ll see from the following – lack of clarity and a less than smooth applicant process will drive applicants crazy. This simply is code for…they’ll stop the process with you and move on to another opportunity.  

The 5 Things Driving Online Applicants the Most Crazy

According to ERE Recruiting Intelligence These are the top five frustrations for candidates in the U.S., according to data from the 2018 Potential park Study (37,000 responses, wide range of industries).

  1. Lack of Clarity in the process - Candidates ranked the lack of clarity in the application process their No. 1 frustration. Fifty-six percent of U.S. candidates experience frustration about not knowing what happens from the moment they send in their application till the moment they get a response. 

  2. How Long the Application Takes - Returning to transparency of the application process, this information should be available before they even apply.

  3. The Application Takes Too Long - Not knowing how long an application will take is more frustrating than the length of the application itself.

  4. Unnecessary Questions Doubting the relevancy of your questions. How much sense does every question make in your application form? Remember: Transparency!

  5. Suddenly Requesting Documents - we’ve seen a wide range of applications from the minimalist “Apply through LinkedIn” to those that require a CV, cover letter, university diplomas, references, and GPA. Only you know what works best for your process. Focus on a smooth candidate experience. And remember to tell the candidate upfront before starting the application process!

ONE SIMPLE GOAL

Even small to mid-size companies can create a seamless online applicant process.  When you look to create or develop a Career website here are some primary goals to have which will lead to stronger engagement with today’s talent and more hiring leads.

  1. Create a process where the applicant can clearly see the job including a short narrative on the requirements and register online with a few lines and clicks. 

  2. The Hiring Authority should be notified as soon as an applicant applies and that begins the (Pipeline).

  3. Hiring authorities should be coached and trained on the importance of immediately engaging the applicant/talent by e-mail or by phone. Texting is the preferred method of contact by many of today’s best candidates. 

CLOUD BASED SOLUTIONS ARE NOW COST EFFECTIVE AND SCALEABLE

It used to be that only big companies could afford applicant tracking software and great solutions.  Today this is changing and there are literally hundreds of cloud-based applicant tracking systems (ATS).  If you need a large- scale solution you can engage a company like KRONOS.

Important:  In today’s app marketplace there is an application for everything. Even for a smaller or medium size enterprise there are great options with solutions from companies like ADP and ApplicantStack. 

I hope you’ll take the opportunity to test drive your website from a user’s perspective including your website career page. If you don’t have a career page you are literally missing an opportunity to brand your company as a go to employer and make sure you cast the widest net possible.

Hiring today is getting more and more challenging. The U.S. Department of Labor unemployment statistics consistently shows a trend of the economy reaching nearly full employment.  I can tell you from where I sit as a leading Executive Recruiter “today’s candidate is assessing the company as closely as you are looking at their background. They are in the driver’s seat and have many options to choose from.