Every week we scour the internet for the latest and greatest HR news, articles, and insights, compiling them here in a weekly roundup. In this week's roundup, we bust some of the biggest employer branding myths, look at how to retain women in the workforce, and examine the ten best tools for building an internship program. We'll also look at how to support autistic employees and why to hire that "overqualified" candidate.
2017 is shaping up to be the year of the Employer Brand. In order to provide a universal definition and get everyone on the same page, James Ellis examines 7 big employer branding myths:
- You have to build an employer brand. “Your employer brand is what people think and say about you when they aren’t on the clock,” Ellis explains. “The question isn’t “how will you build your employer brand,” but rather, “how are you going to support and encourage the perceptions that are most beneficial to you?””
- Employer brand is controlled by employers. Employees shape employer brand. What you can do is shape employee’s perceptions. Your employer brand is a combination of employee perception of the workplace and executive decisions to make it better.
- Your employer brand is separate from your consumer brand. Employer brand and customer brand are both facets of the larger company brand - and both impact the other. Those with poor experiences with your products won’t want to work for you, and those with poor experience with your workplace won’t want to buy from you.
- Employees are the only way to communicate your Employer Brand. There are many other touch points that impact employer brand. These include: experience as a job candidate, the news, and interactions on social media.
- The only place that candidates pay attention to Employer Brand communication is Glassdoor. Glassdoor is a major player in the transparency space, but they are not the only place where employees talk about their working experience.
- Building and employer brand is expensive. Unlike building a customer brand, employer brand is built on an existing foundation. “You already have an army of potential advocates in the form of your staff,” Ellis explains. Of course, this is not to say it is free - employer brand must still be managed.
- There’s no way to measure your employer brand. Depending on your objectives, there could be any number of metrics you can base your success on. A near universal one is Glassdoor rating: as the number goes up, it means your employer brand is improving. Granted, the rating isn’t perfect. “But deep within the analytics of the tool, you can see trends upwards or downwards, as well a break the data down by location or career area,” Ellis says.
“The best part is that moving the needle on Glassdoor isn’t just a metric you and your stakeholders see. Good work that moves the number up leads to fewer high-quality candidates removing you from their consideration set, driving overall applicant quality up.”
Ellis hits the nail on the head with all of these - the complete article is much longer and more in-depth, so if employer brand is a topic of interest to you, I highly recommend reading it in full. Number one and six have the potential to be the most eye-opening. When confronting “employer brand,” most organizations start at the same place they started with consumer brand (from zero). But as Ellis adeptly points out, you already have employees. Your brand as an employer already exists. So really, a major aspect of “employer brand” is just organizations noticing that they employ people with lives (and followers) outside of work. Depending on where your employer brand starts, it could enable a virtuous cycle - if your employees are happy, they’ll want their high performing friends to work with them. Of course, this could very easily work the other way.
“Even in companies as broadly recognized as best-in-class for retaining women (companies like Abbott, Ernst & Young, or KPMG), only 23% of the top floor hosts top women,” Shawn Murphy begins. “Research is irrefutably clear that the presence of women in the workforce improves productivity, innovation, team dynamics, decision-making processes, organization health and the bottom line.” So why the disconnect? Murphy provides six places to start evaluating where things might be going wrong:
- Ask Yourself: “Opted Out” or “Pushed Out”? When women choose to start a family, most automatically assume that they opt out of the workforce in order to better focus on raising children. But in reality, this does not seem to be the case - most women feel that their company does not support their family-raising efforts and are subsequently “pushed out.”
- Fuel Flexibility. “A major “women in the workplace” survey showed “seventy-five percent of college-educated women aged thirty-five to sixty would rather have more free time in their lives than make more money at their jobs. In fact, 40 percent would even take a pay cut for more flexibility,” explains Murphy. Unleash your women in the workplace by letting them work a more flexible schedule.
- Flush Out Gender Bias. Processes that assess and promote internal candidates are often unfair. Most promotion processes place undue emphasis on male-centric traits, like aggressive self-advocation.
- Provide Clear, and Crucible, Career Opportunities. “Dare to plan 2-3 assignments out,” Murphy says. “Conduct proactive “stay interviews” instead of the dreaded, and too-late, exit interview.”
- Have a “Role Model Action Plan”. The lack of women in leadership positions enables a vicious cycle: without these leaders to role model, women in entry level positions are not shown a clear path to management. Work to provide exposure for the few that you have.
- Champion Change for Family Friendly Benefits. While it may seem an insurmountable task for a single individual, that is where policy change starts. “I have seen vivid examples in Fortune 500 behemoths where policy changes started with a passionate individual who put real tension on the issue,” Murphy concludes. “It’s important not to underestimate the impact such “base” subjects as benefits can have on female retention.”
Most of Murphy’s six points feed into each other. For example, flexible hours could make starting a family incompatible with work. By the same token, a lack of role models could very well make starting a family seem impossible - after all, if there are working women with families, where are they? And I do not think it would be a stretch to say that the limited number of women in leadership roles is what leads to “pushed out” being misconstrued for “opting out.” So how do you stop a negative feedback loop with so many different points of negative feedback? I think Murphy’s onto something when he suggests individual workplace champions. Countering the vicious circle with a positive feedback loop created through employee conversation and social media might well be the solution we’ve been looking for.
Matthew Kosinski, Recruiter.com
College recruiting season is upon us, and it is time for many organizations to start filling their long-term talent pipeline with vetted interns. Recruiter.com was kind enough to compile the top 10 tools for attracting interns and building a world-class experience.
- University Beyond: connects students with internship opportunities across industries. Utilizes a pay-per-hire scheme rather than pay-per-applicant.
- Handshake: provides the ability to post jobs to dozens of university job boards at once. Has more than 3.5 million student users across 170 universities.
- WhatsApp: this easy way to connect with anyone is a great way to hold recruiting forums.
- WayUp: this job board for college students and recent grads comes with a collection of filters so employers can hear from the candidates they want.
- Vocate: this “technological evolution of the university career center” not only hosts job openings, it also provides students with resources to help them decide on a career path.
- WizeHive: this internship management software provides everything you need to create and manage a comprehensive internship program.
- WCN: this recruitment solution helps organizations build and maintain highly successful internship programs.
- HireVue: this video interviewing software helps recruiters identify the best internship candidates. Since most student applicants have very little work experience, video interviews can be a great way to fill the information gaps that often arise when recruiting from this high-potential applicant pool.
- Glassdoor: this employer review site is heavily utilized by candidates when conducting research into potential employers.
- Intern Queen: this “massive educational resource for people seeking internships” attracts a steady stream of ambitious young candidates.
We made the list! Okay, there might be a bit of selection bias going on here, but hear me out. While video interviewing is a great way to evaluate a candidate’s soft skillset, this sort of insight is even more important when every applicant’s resume looks the same. Most internship candidates have little, if any, relevant work experience, and extracurriculars don’t really correlate well with actual duties performed on the job. Since it would be impossible to interview each internship candidate in person, on demand video interviews provide the perfect way to let students differentiate themselves at scale.
Jenny Holt, Workology
“Over 3.5 million people in America are on the autistic spectrum,” Jenny Holt begins. “Yet only 19.3 percent of people with disabilities were working or actively seeking work as of 2014.” By becoming more open to different types of diversity, employers can leverage a largely untapped talent pool (and it’s the right thing to do). She provides three ways to make the workplace more accessible to autistic employees:
- Adapting the Environment. “The workplace can change very quickly which can alter an employee’s routine causing a great deal of stress to those with autism,” Holt explains. “This can be avoided by providing employees with reasonable adjustments according to what they are finding stressful or uncomfortable.”
- Managing Workload. Employers need to provide crystal clear instructions, training, and a support network in order to help those with autism make the most of their time.
- Improving Understanding. Encouraging employees and staff to learn about autism will help them understand their colleagues on the spectrum - allowing them to function as a better support network that enhances their autistic coworkers’ working capabilities.
A couple weeks ago we covered a similar article by the same author. In it, Holt discusses those with autism spectrum disorder, why they represent a huge untapped talent pool, and how to recruit them. In this article, she examines how to accommodate them. Number three is the big one. Without adequate understanding, it will be difficult for most employees to adapt the environment and assist with their autistic coworkers with workload and time management.
Hire the Overqualified to Maximize Talent ROI
The excuse that a candidate is “overqualified” really boils down to one of these four, according to Ed Baldwin:
- You believe the candidate is only taking the job until they find a bigger/better job.
- The hiring manager’s ideal candidate is someone younger.
- The hiring manager has a “smartest person in the room” mentality and is intimidated.
- You think that if a candidate appears too good to be true, they probably are.
You may have noticed that none of these reasons are particularly compelling. Overqualified candidates offer more skills and experience for the same cost - a superb ROI. Baldwin provides a two step solution for hiring the overqualified:
- Find managers who recognize the value an overqualified candidate brings to the table and fill their team with these high performers. Other (should) then learn from their example.
- If any hiring manager sticks to the “overqualified” excuse, show them the success of the aforementioned open-minded manager. Then build out their team with the same “overqualified” professionals.
You can’t really begrudge recruiters and hiring managers for being skeptical when confronted with an overqualified candidate. After all, if they were truly competent, shouldn’t it be easy for them to find work at their paygrade (rather than below it)? But as Baldwin explores, this is not always the case. There could be any number of reasons an “overqualified” candidate seeks work below their skill level. For example, when entering the workforce after time spent in academia, it may be difficult to find a position that requires less than two years’ relevant work experience. Candidates of this sort need to “get their feet wet” before becoming competitive in the job market. In which case all parties stand to gain from their employment.
It's easy to think employer brand can be improved with significant monetary investment.
But what if I told you the easiest way to boost your employer brand was 100% free?