Every week we hunt down the latest and greatest HR news, articles and insights, compiling them here in a weekly roundup. In this week's roundup we examine feedback as a tool for improving candidate experience, wasted time in the workplace, and how to detect dishonesty. We'll also take a look at how to hire the best salespeople, as well as the importance of creating a data-driven HR function.
John Feldmann, ERE Media
“When it comes to recruiting, the importance of providing a good candidate experience during the application process is often understated,” begins John Feldman. “In today’s hyper-connected world where airing one’s grievances and frustrations with the application and interview process is as simple as posting a Glassdoor review, recruiters can’t expect to attract quality candidates without a good candidate experience.”
He provides a simple, two step process to begin making the candidate experience a great one:
1. Learn the Pain Points. Companies that evaluate candidate satisfaction throughout the hiring process not only gain valuable insight into the experience they provide, they also increase quality of hire and decrease turnover.
When evaluating the candidate’s experience, it is critical to use survey questions that:
- Focus on how well the recruiter or hiring manager communicated the job and company descriptions.
- Ask about the candidate’s interview experience.
- Ask about the candidate’s initial impressions of the job and company.
Ensuring that candidates have a great experience also means previously rejected candidates are available to call upon in the instance of turnover - so a great experience is really a win all around.
2. Promote Positive Change
After candidates are onboarded as employees, track their performance. Use the candidate experiences and feedback of newfound top performers to reevaluate and redesign the hiring process.
“By reaching out to placed candidates and soliciting feedback, recruiters can progressively work to eliminate difficulties in the interviewing and hiring process, collecting the data necessary to improve candidate satisfaction, and ultimately impacting employer satisfaction,” Feldman concludes.
Metrics like Net Promoter Score (NPS) provide great insight into the way candidates view your application.
NPS is calculated from candidate responses to the question: “How likely (on a scale of 1-10) are you to recommend this experience from a friend or colleague?” Subtract the percent of candidates who responded with 1-6 from the percent who give you a 9 or 10. A “good” NPS score is considered to be around 25 - if you’re a math whiz you may have noticed that the scores could range from -100 to +100.
Another thing to keep in mind when evaluating candidate experience is the impact on your organization’s bottom line - not just its effect on your Glassdoor reputation. Candidates are customers, after all.
In the Talent Board’s most recent Candidate Experience Research Report, 41% of candidates who gave their experience one star out of five indicated the experience would impact their purchasing decisions (while 65% who gave it five stars said they would increase their relationship with the employer).
Beth Leslie, Undercover Recruiter
“According to Salary.com, 9 in 10 employees admit to goofing off during work hours, with over a quarter confessing they do so for more than two hours each day,” Beth Leslie explains. And for bosses, the news gets worse: “If all your employees are consistently slacking off, it’s almost certainly your own fault.”
She provides five ways employee disengagement can stem from their manager’s missteps:
- You prioritise presenteeism over productivity. The human brain and body are not capable of sustaining consistent, high-quality output for the entirety of the workday. Prioritizing employee’s physical presence rather than results incentivises employees to goof off on the job.
- You treat all workdays the same. 44% of Salary.com respondents indicated that they wasted the most time on Friday afternoon. Letting them leave early for the weekend is a great way to boost morale without impacting your business, since they aren’t actually working productively then anyway.
- You haven’t established a break culture. Most people need breaks to stay productive. If management won’t give them, employees will be forced to take matters into their own hands. It is better to build refreshing breaks into the workday than enable unstructured times for disengagement.
- Your meetings are too long. “For almost a quarter of workers, the biggest time sucker is unnecessary meetings,” Leslie explains. “Senior hires need to lead the charge, only calling meetings when they have a clear agenda, and being strict about them running over the allotted time.”
- You’re not incentivising people properly. 20% of survey respondents indicated that the reason they wasted time at work was “because they don’t care that much about their job.” In this instance, management still carries some of the blame: “Either your workplace sucks, or your hiring policy does,” Leslie says. “Solicit feedback on how moral and productivity could be improved, and implement it!”
At the end of the day, it is crucial to shift the focus from how employees work to how well they work. Set agreed-upon KPIs and other targets and trust them to manage their own time.
As industries continue to be disrupted by data, AI, and all other manner of tech, it is quickly becoming apparent that productivity is not necessarily related to innovation. IBM recently made the news in their decision to mandate relocation for all their remote workers in pursuit of the “water cooler” effect.
However, as John Sullivan points out, this is provides no guarantee of innovation. If colocation is bungled by the sorts of bureaucracy and traditional oversight Leslie outlines here, the move could very well do more harm than good. By shifting from “time at work” to “specific KPIs,” you provide employees the opportunity to innovate their workflow, instead of goofing off.
Lauren Stead, HRMorning
“Studies have found that roughly four out of every 10 resumes you see contain some form of substantial mistake, such as job candidates over-exaggerating their contributions at previous employers,” Lauren Stead explains. “So how can you root out falsehoods like the HR super-sleuth you are?”
To answer this question, she turns to former Justice Department attorney Michael Johnson, who provided five tips for getting to the truth in the hiring process and workplace investigations:
- Use open-ended questions. Stay away from questions that evoke simple “yes” and “no” responses. Letting the individual explain themselves in an open-ended fashion increases their chances of slipping up if they are lying.
- Prepare a script. It is important to ask questions in the form you initially intended - see point #1 for why.
- Create a relaxed atmosphere. Make sure your fact-finding inquiry is not an interrogation. “Stress and nervousness don’t equate to deception. It just means the person is emotional,” Johnson explains.
- Listen for the verbal cues someone’s lying. “Liars try to control their actions and make a concerted effort to concentrate on their story,” Johnson says. “Have someone repeat his or her story in reverse. Then look to see if the facts change.”
- Keep cool. Even if you know an individual is lying, don’t call them out. You might need further information that you won’t get if they clam up.
To the recruiter who is evaluated based on long-term quality of hire, that 40% of resumes contain lies should be terrifying. After all, one of the best predictors of future performance is past performance - but that relation is meaningless if the past performance is a lie.
In a job interview, situational questions and hypotheticals will allow the recruiter more insight into each candidate’s aptitude. If they really do possess so many years of excellent experience, they should have no trouble replying to a simple hypothetical.
Video interviewing holds the potential to avoid the sorts of pitfalls Stead lists, and at the very least provide the ability to scale your lie detection, screen out embellishers, and hone in on those who are actually a fit for the role.
Monika Gotzmann, TalentCulture
According to CSO Insights, annual sales rep turnover stands between 25 and 30 percent. “One of the most obvious things recruiters should look for when trying to hire salespeople is their previous experience within sales,” says Monika Gotzmann. “Sales experience can serve as proof that somebody has a basic talent for making sales.”
She acknowledges that experience should not be the only factor driving sales hiring decisions. After all, a well-tenured rep with a poor attitude will probably be outperformed by a greenhorn with a great attitude and aptitude for selling.
Gotzmann identifies the three leading reasons for new rep failure:
- Poor coachability.
- Poor emotional intelligence.
- Poor motivation and temperament.
Hiring the right rep starts with identifying the unique skills your organization requires in its salesforce - and ensuring those expectations are displayed in the job description. “It pays to be as specific as possible about what you are looking for and why,” Gotzmann concludes.
Consider these sales hiring statistics from the Bridge Group:
- It costs an average of $10-$15k to hire a new sales rep.
- It takes an average of 5-10 months to fully onboard them.
- Altogether, the cost of losing a rep is around 1.5-2x their annual compensation; the average cost per turnover is $100k.
Those are some pretty scary numbers. Gotzmann nails a valid point that many overlook: each sales force is unique. What made a rep successful at one firm might cripple them at another. Using the job description to let sales candidates know the expectations that will be levied on them will go a long way toward attracting those that best fit your organization’s sales culture.
Meghan Biro, TalentCulture
“Public companies that use data-driven HR methods, or “people analytics,” show 30 percent higher stock market returns than the S&P 500,” begins Meghan Biro. “Big data can help you determine where your business is headed if you make a certain decision or choose a particular path.” She identifies four ways to leverage big data and create a more data-driven HR function:
- Talent Analytics for Recruiting and Hiring. Big data combined with deep-learning algorithms has the ability to sift through the huge quantity of qualified applicants on social media - and gauge their performance potential.
- Predictive Analytics to Aid in Retention. Based on a number of key indicators, predictive analytics can predict which employees are at the highest risk of leaving the organization. You can then take action to address those factors (be they overtime hours or stock options) and reduce turnover.
- Evaluate Data to Improve Workforce Planning. “Big data can help you foresee mass retirements, what skills you’ll need to hire for in the future, and how you can keep your workforce stable in a world of ever-changing factors,” says Biro. As some jobs continue to face talent shortages, building a healthy talent pipeline will require predictive data.
- Relate HR Data to Business Outcomes. By breaking departmental data silos you’ll gain insight into the skills each department needs to succeed, potentially years down the line. Building a strategic recruitment plan around these directly impacts business outcomes.
Human Resources has traditionally been relegated to administrative duties and paperwork - but as organizations gather and organize more data than ever before, the HR function is in the perfect position to take on a more consultative role.
With access to data relating to performance, engagement, and retention, HR can take a more forward-thinking approach to its hiring practices. Rather than filling roles on an as-needed basis, they can predict and prepare for vacancies well in advance.