Less than a week ago we wrapped up the interviewing process for a new hire at our local office. After reviewing dozens of candidates, talking with half a dozen, and bringing a few back for another round, we settled on the one who we thought was the best fit for the position.
We work hard to provide a solid first round interview to verify skills/abilities and general fit. It’s very much a “standard” interview.
The second interview has a very different feel. We bring the person in, let them talk with their potential future coworkers, and leave them alone. Before the second round, I tell both parties (the peers and the candidate) that it’s their chance to interview their future teammate. I want both parties to be invested in the success of the interview, and I also want them to honestly ask themselves the question, “Would I really want to work with this person?”
Recently I had the opportunity to do a short podcast interview with Tim Muma of LocalJobNetwork. I talked a lot about asking good interview questions, how to research culture as a candidate, etc. I think there’s some good stuff in there, especially for the job seekers out there. If you know someone looking for work, feel free to share the link with them!
Click here to listen to the podcast
I’m not sure about the rest of the world, but here in Huntsville I’ve had a dozen conversations with other HR pros about the ACA affecting health insurance premiums. Our plan does not renew on a standard Jan/Dec plan year, so our renewal happened before the crazy stuff started happening. We got away with a “modest” 10% increase across the board. I consider that lucky, and so will you after you check out these stories.
Here are a few of the scenarios I’ve heard about from other companies locally:
- The employer canceled the standard preferred provider (PPO) plan and instituted a high deductible option paired with a health savings account, only telling the employees about the change 5 days before making the switch, which ensured that nobody could research and be fully prepared for the changeover.
- Another employer received their notice from the health insurance provider. Normally there are two rates for health insurance: family and individual. This time the rate sheet included custom premiums for each participant on the plan. Bob Smith might pay $800 per month for his family plan, but John Doe could have a $1400 premium instead. That will be a nightmare to administer on the HR side! Consider also the recruiting applications. When candidates ask how much the premiums will be for insurance, you really have no idea until you get their info to the provider and receive the person’s custom rate. Ugh!
- Yet another company got their renewal notice for health coverage. They retained the single/family tiered rates, but rates are going up 30% effective January 1st. Should they feel lucky? Is this the new normal?
Our rates did what?
Forget about talent management or any of the other “major” HR issues. The health insurance premium changes brought about by the ACA are a reality for a large portion of the HR population out there currently, and it’s only going to get more prevalent. It’s hard to think about recruiting or employee development when this is the stark reality staring us in the face.
Anyone else want to comment below (anonymously, if you like) about their own company’s health insurance woes? I’d be curious to see how the rest of the world is dealing with this challenge. How are you telling your employees? Is anyone interested in a post on how to communicate these changes to staff?
I’ve been talking with some employees of another company in the past few weeks, and I”m amazed at how poorly their employer treats them. Amazed. The list of affronts is fairly substantial, and their redeeming qualities are pretty much nonexistent. It took me twenty minutes to work through the list of complaints and less than five seconds to gather up all the positive comments about the organization. Seriously.
The Super Secret Strategy
It sounds silly to say it out loud, but this has become my “secret” formula for talking with these kinds of employees: I treat them with basic human dignity. Yes, it’s amazing to behold the response I get. After being “mushroom employees” (they’re constantly kept in the dark and fed crap all the time) for so long, any0ne exhibiting the basic tenets of human decency looks like a freaking knight in shining armor.
Again–I’m surprised I have to say this out loud. It sounds like something archaic, yet it’s still surprisingly common. Think this isn’t happening at your organization? Ask your employees. Check out each manager. Make 100% sure that there’s not a version of this playing out under your roof. You don’t want to be that company. Trust me.
Back to work!
man·i·fes·to (noun) 1. a public declaration of policy and aims
What if I gave you a sheet of paper and asked you to write the manifesto for what matters in your world. What would you say?
It doesn’t have to be long.
It doesn’t have to be complex.
It doesn’t have to be difficult.
It needs to be a vision of what drives your actions at the very core of your belief system.
What would be the title of your manifesto on talent management? What would you say? Can you even articulate your thoughts on the topic off the cuff? Why or why not?
If you think you don’t have any manifesto-worthy ideas relating to the business of people, why do you think that is? Is it a personal constraint or something else?
I think we all should have some core beliefs about what it means to lead people in the workplace. Take some time today to consider yours and, if necessary, put them to paper to ensure the ideas don’t get away from you. They’re worth holding onto.
Nearly a year ago I put together a post about starting or working in a new and/or small HR department. It’s a different world, and I quickly learned that this community works to share resources, pool knowledge, and generally help each other with facing the daily HR challenges.
That post was very helpful to the HR community, and I wanted to give it a little more staying power, so I formatted it into an eBook in order to help share it with others more easily. Without further ado, click the link below to download the guide.
Building Your HR Department: Establishing a foundation for success
This short guide includes:
- tips on what to focus on for long-term success
- how I got started as a solo practitioner
- advice from others in the trenches
- additional resources to consider
If you find the guide helpful, please share it with other professionals in the space. That’s all I ask. My goal is to help as many of us as possible, and with your help, that range will be extended greatly. Thanks, and enjoy!
One thing I know (not think–KNOW) about HR is that it’s full of people who never get out of their cave.
You need to get out of your comfort zone. Read and do things outside of the specific HR body of knowledge to be better. That’s how I found myself reading a manual by Mailchimp on how to avoid spam filters. I want to be sure that the messages I craft are not being caught by email providers and firewalls, so I spent some time checking out the guide.
But then I started thinking about our daily lives. There’s a significant amount of noise around us daily. In my role as the communications guy at work, I might be able to get around any technology-related filters, but there are plenty of verbal/human filters that will prevent my messages from arriving at their destinations with the full intent and purpose with which I sent them.
Let’s look at a few concepts on this topic and how to avoid the human filters that prevent communication from taking place. Here are some of the most common email spam issues you would see (hint: don’t include these in ANY of your communications):
- Using spammy phrases, like “Click here!” or “Once in a lifetime opportunity!”
- Going crazy with exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- USING ALL CAPS, WHICH IS LIKE SCREAMING AT THE TOP OF YOUR LUNGS VIA EMAIL (especially in the subject line)
- Coloring fonts bright red or green, adding lots of italics, underlined text, or bold fonts
That covers a few of the glaring problems in the written world, but what about the verbal/nonverbal conversations we have on a daily basis? Here are some ideas to consider.
- Don’t look at your phone when you’re talking with someone. Super rude.
- Do make eye contact. Know how much is appropriate based on what local culture dictates.
- Do ensure nonverbal cues (posture, hand gestures, facial expressions) convey that you’re interested in the other person.
- Don’t assume that everyone understands and processes information in the same way you do.
- Assume the other person is competent, and even if proven otherwise, treat them kindly.
Just doing a few of these will help to avoid problems or confusion when it comes to communication. And when it comes to critical items like overall corporate communications, a little help can go a long way.
What other ways do you see people messing up verbal/nonverbal cues? What advice do you have?
I can find admin staff easily enough. However, hiring a person for xyz skilled trade takes forever! I need to find a talent pool to tap into, but so far nothing!!!!!! Rebecca
The comment above was a piece of a recent conversation with a friend and reader up in Canada. We chat back and forth occasionally about recruiting topics, and I told her I would discuss the concept of finding/developing/building a talent pool for a skilled individual. I don’t know it all, but here’s how I have been able to develop a talent pool in an area that most would say is pretty tough to break into.
First, find one
It’s a much easier proposition if you have one to start from. Preferably a current employee or friend, because you’re going to be asking them a lot of (seemingly simple) questions. Occasionally we need to find a “provisioner” for our technical publications team. I’m still not 100% sure what these people do, but I know enough generally to understand if someone has what it takes or not. When I started my first search for one of these openings, I realized how little I knew. So I decided to remedy that situation.
I grabbed one of our current guys with a solid provisioning background and asked him a list of questions:
- What do provisioners do?
- What background makes someone good at provisioning?
- What sort of companies hire provisioners?
- What are some keywords I could use to find a provisioner’s resume?
- Do any schools have provisioning-like degree or certification programs?
- What sort of questions would you ask a provisioner to determine if they are proficient?
Those are a few, but they hit the highlights. I’m building a profile for what a provisioner looks like. Just like the police build a profile for someone in a criminal case based on what they know about the crime combined with statistical data, I do the same thing (minus handcuffs).
Expand that network
As long as you’re asking questions of your existing person, you might as well ask one more: who is the best you’ve ever seen at this job? That’s your #1 target. They won’t always be accessible, but it’s a good place to start. If it doesn’t pan out, leverage that connection into the person’s network. Here’s an example:
Hey, Bob! Glad to hear you’re enjoying your current work. Brian said you were great at what you do, and I’m always glad to see people excelling at what they love. If you ever change your mind or want to talk more, feel free to reach out to me and I’d be happy to discuss a position with you. In the meantime, is there anyone else you know who might be qualified/interested in a position like this?
That serves two purposes. First, it leaves the door open to future opportunities. People hate to shut doors, and I always leave it open, even if just barely, so they always feel comfortable reaching out. It swings both ways, too. If I ever have another opening in their field of expertise, you better believe I’ll be reaching out to find out if they are still happy at work. There have been plenty of times where that conversation turned into a job offer itself.
Always be looking
If you wrap up a hiring action and make an offer to a candidate, hang onto the next few if they are still qualified. You never know when the next batch of candidates might not be as strong as your second best pick this time around. And for everyone who turns you down, they are a potential “in” with a new networking chain.
Get a few champions
I have a few “champions” that I turn to fairly often. These people have great networks and are phenomenal about helping to find new staff, even when there isn’t a bonus or other incentive on the line. Recently I had a guy contact me, and I looked back through the email chain. There were seven connections between our “champion” and this guy. If any one of those people had stopped the chain, the guy would have never found the job. However, because of the credibility of the first guy in the chain, it kept rolling until the right guy saw the email.
As I said earlier, this isn’t the end, it’s just a beginning. Every position, company, and market is different. However, with the right attention to detail and persistence, you can create your own talent pool and rev up your recruiting for months to come.