Posts Tagged ‘Employment’

What Anonymous Feedback Will (and Won’t) Tell You

Need to do an employee survey? Conventional wisdom says it should completed confidentially. What is the problem? Lack of trust if employees can’t provide constructive criticism in an open manner. Some great insight in the HBR article below.

A survey evaluating a team’s performance can be a powerful tool for making that team more effective. And the first message that consultants and HR professionals often communicate on these surveys is: “To ensure that the team gets the best data and feels protected, we will make sure responses are confidential.” The widespread assumption is that if team members know their answers are confidential, they will respond honestly. But if you ask for confidential feedback, it might create the very results you are trying to avoid.

If team members are reluctant to have their names associated with their responses, then you’ve already identified what is probably the most significant problem in your team — lack of trust. Leaders routinely insist that team members be accountable as a team, so the logic follows that they should also be accountable for giving good, critical feedback. But enabling respondents to comment without being linked to their responses actually catalyzes the situation the survey is designed to overcome: It seeks to create increased accountability using a process that lacks transparency and precludes accountability.

via What Anonymous Feedback Will (and Won’t) Tell You – Roger Schwarz – Harvard Business Review.


Guest Blog: Deborah Kerr – Nonprofit Talent Management

Deborah L. Kerr, Ph.D. is a performance measurement expert and a co-founding partner of Affintus, a pre-employment assessment company based in Austin, Texas. Her work in performance measurement and management has been written Deborah Kerrabout in Financial World magazine and has been cited as “best practice” by SHRM. Her approach and success with organizational measurement were featured in Paul Niven’s 2002 book Balanced Scorecard Step by Step and Mohan Nair’s 2004 book Essentials of the Balanced Scorecard. Deborah led the development of the one of the nation’s first public sector balanced scorecards and in 2004, that measurement system was recognized as one of the world’s best when it was elected to the Balanced Scorecard Hall of Fame. She is on the graduate faculty of Texas A&M University where she teaches management, public policy theory, and organizational performance measurement. Her teaching has been recognized with the University’s 2008 Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching (based on nomination and support from current and former graduate students) and with the 2009 Silver Star Award given by the Class of 2009 for outstanding service and dedication.

Nonprofit Talent Management

Employee costs generally make up more than 50 percent of a nonprofit’s budget so nonprofit talent management is critical to the health of every nonprofit’s “bottom line”.  This will be highlighted as the economy continues to grow and nonprofits face two major workforce trends:  the need to add staff to meet demand and the reality of losing experienced staff to retirement or “better” jobs.

Adding nonprofit staff has been a trend for the last three years.  Nonprofit HR Solutions’ 2013 survey of 588 nonprofits found that 40 percent added new staff in 2012 and 44 percent plan to create more new positions this year.  Turnover is expected to remain at 17 percent in 2013, the same as 2012, but voluntary turnover and retirement now account for 11 percent of total turnover.  This may grow as the economy’s recovery leads to more job options for good employees.

After hiring, retention of good employees is key to sustainability, but in the Nonprofit HR Solution study 90 percent of respondents reported they have no retention strategy even though they see it as a challenge.  Losing good employees is expensive.  Writing for, Raymund Flandez found the average tenure of a fundraiser is only 16 months and the direct and indirect costs of replacing that fundraiser add up to a staggering $127,650!   For other employees hiring costs range from 25 percent to over 100 percent depending on the job and responsibilities.

Here are strategies that work to improve hiring decisions, reduce voluntary turnover, and improve workforce retention.

Hire the right person in the first place.

Most organizations have made at least one hiring mistake in the last 12 months and report spending thousands of dollars to fix it. Hiring mistakes are not only expensive, they negatively affect the morale of other employees and can damage donor relations.  Hiring the right person, on the other hand, results in 10 percent – 50 percent higher productivity and revenues.

Why is hiring so hard?  Most nonprofits base hiring decisions on resume reviews and interviews.  Yet over 50 percent of resumes contain erroneous information and applicants can be coached on interviewing tactics, so decision data may be flawed.  The best way to get objective, accurate talent data is to use pre-hire assessments – candidates can’t “fake” assessment responses as they can fake interview responses or experience on a resume.  Be sure to use an assessment validated for pre-hire use, one that matches job requirements with applicant preferences and strengths.

Pay attention to pay

In a 2012 study, Penelope Burke of Cygnus Applied Research surveyed 1700 fundraisers and 8000 nonprofit CEOs.  She found that good fundraisers begin to be recruited away after only three to six months in a position!  She reports that it would cost about $46,000 to keep a good fundraiser happy by providing better salaries and other benefits like more vacation… a bargain compared to $127,650!

The best pay strategy is to match the market rate for the job whenever possible.The closer pay is to the market rate, the less likely an employee will think about quitting.  When employees find the work interesting and feel valued, most will not look for a new job as long as the pay is competitive in their geographic area and the industry.

Pay is not the most important factor in most decisions to stay in a job or to quit, but it is one of the top reasons employees choose to stay when they are offered another job.  Fundraisers are an exception – most report that higher pay is the number one reason they leave current jobs.  Helping someone decide to stay rather than take a new job saves money every time.

Be flexible

Research has repeatedly found that a flexible work schedule is a key reason for staying with the current organization when an employee is offered employment by another organization.Flexible work schedules improve employee satisfaction and productivity while helping to reduce absenteeism.

Let managers to handle employee scheduling requests on a case-by-case basis or permit cross-trained employees to “trade” hours as needed to meet both business and personal demands on employees.  The key is to be as flexible as possible while meeting the needs of the business.

The bottom line?  Talent management is an increasingly important driver of nonprofit sustainability and every investment in hiring and retaining good talent goes straight to the bottom line.  With projections for increased service demand in 2013, nonprofits must continue to grow the workforce while trying to hire and retain high performers. Now is the time to review talent practices and make the changes needed to reduce costs and improve bottom line performance.

Use your personal smartphone for work email? Your company might take it

If you use your personal smartphone or tablet to read work email, your company may have to seize the device some day, and you may not get it back for months. Employees armed with a battery of smartphones and other gadgets they own are casually connecting to work email and other employer servers. It’s a less-than-ideal security arrangement that technology pros call BYOD — bring your own device.

Now, lawyers are warning there’s an unforeseen consequence of BYOD. If a company is involved in litigation — civil or criminal — personal cellphones that were used for work email or other company activity are liable to be confiscated and examined for evidence during discovery or investigation.

More here: Use your personal smartphone for work email? Your company might take it – Red Tape.

Guest Blog: Andrew Jackson (BravoTECH) – Candidates Have a Shelf Life

November 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Today’s guest blog is from Andrew Jackson. Andrew has spent the last 30 years building and managing technical service companies.   In 1996, he co-founded Bravo Technical Resources, Inc. (BravoTECH) an information technology professional services firm headquartered in Dallas. BravoTECH has experienced award winning growth with BravoTECH employees currently performing IT assignments across the United States. Andrew received a BSBA from Illinois State University and was recently inducted into the ISU School of Business Hall of Fame.

Andrew has been chairman of the board of the following organizations: Texas Association of Business Dallas and Ft Worth Chapters, the National Kidney Foundation of North Texas and the Dallas and Ft Worth Chapters of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. He serves as a mentor on the Associate Board of the Cox School of Business at SMU, and has been a member of the Dallas Chapter of the Society for Information Management (SIM) since 2002. He Just completed his sixth term as SIM’s VP of Conferences and Seminars on the SIM International Management Council.

Candidates Have a Shelf Life

Do applicants for your technical positions have a shelf- life? You bet they do, and right now the shelf lives of top candidates are getting shorter as demand for skilled technical professionals is increasing. An unemployed or under-employed technology worker can find three to five viable career options in just a few days.

Many employers are finding that qualified candidates who had expressed an interest in their firm are gone by the time they finish their traditional, often slow-paced hiring processes.

BravoTECH has worked with hundreds of clients to help them expedite their hiring and onboarding processes in order to secure illusive A player candidates. Some areas that should be evaluated and can often be improved are:

  1. Number of interviews for a single position. Consider condensing the interview process by using group interviews. If numerous people are needed for a hiring decision, schedule multiple interviews on the same day.
  2. Background investigations. It’s wise to perform a basic background check before making an offer, but unwise to delay a hiring decision while waiting days or weeks for results. An option is to make offers contingent on receiving positive background check results.
  3. Departmental inefficiencies. If other departments are involved in your screening and interviewing process, make sure they have the same sense of urgency as your team. Make sure they are aware of how soon you’d like the new position filled and how the new hire will contribute to helping your department meet its goals.
  4. Process and quality control. Believe it or not, some firms have totally automated or outsourced the applicant screening and selection process or they have empowered low level administrators to do the work. As a result, some very good applicants never make it to an interview. Make sure you know how your firm is screening and identifying potential candidates and if you do use an automated, external or non-technical person to screen applicants, allow for an exception policy so that candidates or services can protest an unreasonable deletion from the process.
  5. Drop unproductive, old school beliefs. One such belief is that you must interview three applicants for each position before making an offer. Instead, when you find a the right candidate, make a decision. Don’t fall prey to analysis paralysis. By the time you look at the third applicant the first may be off the shelf!

Finally, remember that applicants are individuals who have expressed an interest in, not made a commitment to your firm. Their career options will grow the with the passage of time. Don’t let processes keep you from hiring your share of the A Players who will likely not stay on the shelf for long.

Are “A” players always promotable?

November 21, 2012 5 comments

We’ve all been there. We have an amazing mid manager. They really get results. We promote them. They crash and burn. We all feel bad about it. How did we go wrong?

I am a big fan of Topgrading. Brad Smart is the guru. There is another way that prevents this scenario. Here are his latest thoughts.

Almost every leader I’ve interviewed has promoted people who were high performers in their current job, but failed when promoted. Years ago a popular business book was The Peter Principle (by Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull), a book that painfully documented how common it was to promote people to their level of incompetence. “She earned the promotion” made sense decades ago, and for years after The Peter Principle was released companies were more cautious — people were NOT necessarily given promotions because they “deserved the chance.”

But in my recent experience, too many companies have fallen back into the Peter Principle trap and need a reminder.

Read more

The anywhere office

October 30, 2012 2 comments

Home Office

Over the last year, we have been experimenting with an office anywhere approach. We have combined this with a new collaborative environment in our physical office. So … after a year in, how is it working? Here are a couple of recent quotes from 2 of our staff.

I feel like I have the best of all worlds… I can come into our open area at work when I need to meet with staff or someone in particular. I can hole away in my home office to do solitary work, and I am in fact, in my home office most of the time. My home office is a quiet environment (most of the time) and I can actually think and work. While there, I feel totally connected just by having my Lync window up showing all my team’s status colors. I think the work-life balance benefits of this arrangement are incredible and I feel empowered knowing that I don’t have to “show up” in the collaborative area just to be seen.

And another.

I enjoy telecommuting because I have the option of staying away from the masses, the drive byes, and the side conversations if I wish.  My favorite days are those where I have few meetings and I can actually do work.  Unfortunately that doesn’t happen very often so I have to find other ways to get real work done or to just think/strategize.

So, what do you think? Are you an anywhere office kind of person?

How mobile friendly is your recruiting web site?

Here is an interesting trend to look at and get on top of. I must admit I hadn’t thought about it from a recruiting point of view. We live in a world that is increasingly mobile. We all need to think mobile first.iPhone & Intel Mobile Device Potential employees clearly are.

The study found that a healthy 19% of job seekers use their mobile devices for career-related purposes (and more than 50% of could imagine doing so), yet only 7% of employers have a mobile version of their career website and only 3% have a mobile job app.

Mobile Recruiting Is on the Rise

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