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Recruiting and Training Trends Blog

Streamline Your Training Process to Fill the Skills Gap

The job market is beginning to resemble a field of round holes littered with square pegs. While 11 million Americans are looking for jobs, 4 million jobs are looking for workers. The reason those two numbers don’t meet each other at a cool 7 million has a lot to do with the skills gap, characterized as a lack of qualified candidates for skills-based jobs, the biggest example of which is in manufacturing. It’s a big talking point for employers across several industries, but what is this whole thing about?

Training-Process

What The Skills Gap is Costing Us

There’s currently a debate as to whether the skills gap actually exists, but its symptoms are damaging the workforce whether their source is perceived to be real or not. 92% of executives believe there’s a serious gap between the skills they need for jobs and the workers who have them, and half of them are struggling to fill those jobs. Employers are looking at the jobs they need to fill and the resumes they have… and coming up short. Candidates simply don’t have the right skills.

This comes at a time when the candidates looking to break into the workforce (mostly college-aged) can’t seem to get over the college hump. According to a study the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, only 36% of full-time students are enrolled at the four-year research universities that provide the skills they need to enter these markets. 4% of students at two-year graduate institutions graduate on time. Candidates aren’t getting trained in the skills they need to join the workforce, and the result is that 54% of candidates under 25 with a bachelor’s degree are underemployed or unemployed.

These unqualified candidates are costing employers big-time. The USCCF study reports that employers spent over $486 billion on training programs, 43% of them failed to achieve key financial targets, 40% reported a reduced ability to innovate, and 37% percent were unable to start a big project or initiative because they lacked the talent to do so. They’re also losing about $23,000 annually per job they don’t have filled. A job posting may not always be the most urgent task for many, but clearly a lack of talent is hurting our ability to thrive.

Where Employers and Candidates Should Meet

If we’re going to get candidates and employers to meet each other halfway, we’re going to need to clear up a few things. For one, there’s a big misconception of how prepared college grads are to enter the workforce. 96% of chief academic officers at colleges believe their students are ready to start working in skills-based jobs, but only 11% of business leaders agree. Colleges may not be preparing students as much as they think, and it’s a big problem for the university system.

Candidates and the colleges who train them could use some recalibrating of expectations, but so could employers. There’s a good chance that while candidates aren’t shaping up, they’re also better equipped for on-the-job training than ever.

“The problem may not be the skills workers ostensibly lack. It may be that employers’ expectations are out of whack… For much of the twentieth century, it was up to industry to pluck smart, capable college graduates and turn them into quality workers. In recent decades, on-the-job training has declined. Companies want new hires to be able to “hit the ground running.” — Matthew Philips (@matthewphilips)

An increase in on-the-job training would do some good to alleviate the issue, but there’s more to it than that. The USCCF has a few other recommendations for employers to follow as well. For one, they emphasize restructuring how employers see their talent sourcing. They need to “link their talent strategy to their business strategy,” making sure that multiple people in an organization are responsible for finding what tasks (not roles) need doing. This strategy also demands that employers be more flexible and responsive with their talent pipelines to make sure that an eager learner who may not have all the necessary skills doesn’t slip through the cracks.

Some employers are already taking those suggestions to heart. 49% of employers will train workers who don’t have the skills needed to do their work on site. It may sound expensive (and risky) to do this, but if that skills gap is going to get filled, it’s going to take employers valuing quick learners (something colleges are known for providing) over candidates who meet the exact criteria. This isn’t lowering your expectations — it’s being pragmatic.

If you’re one of the 49% of employers who train their workers on-the-job, now’s the time to try Cyber Train, Visibility Software’s comprehensive and easy-to-use LMS that streamlines the learning process letting you know when certifications expire, making the approval process automatic, and ensuring workers comply with all the requirements of the job. Take a demo today and see how easy training your employees can be.

 

Cyber Train Demo

Quantity vs. Quality: The Group and the Panel Interview

Looking ahead for what the “Next Big Thing” in hiring will be, we should consider what this year’s recruiters have at their disposal. More specifically, 63% of recruiters will have a higher hiring volume in 2015 (up from 43% in 2013), and 46% of them will have a larger hiring budget. Recruiters will have more people to hire, a higher volume of candidates to hire from, and more resources to work with.

Group_Interview

How do you deal with the increase in volume? How do you adapt the growing number of candidates? How do you make the most of your newly-found recruiting funds?

One area for you to improve is the interview. In the last few years, it took employers 71% longer to secure a new hire and to conduct more interviews for each successful hire. Candidates are finding it harder in the process as well, with 52% of them saying the job interview process is more difficult now than it was five years ago.

Tweet This: 52% of candidates say the job interview process is more difficult now than it was five years ago.

So how should you deal with your hiring difficulties while making the process easier on the candidates? Well, it depends on your situation.

When You’re Overwhelmed: The Group Interview

If you need to fill multiple positions and have too many applicants to fill them, a group interview could be your best bet. Managers, as well as recruiting staff, are more willing to conduct a single one-hour interview than conducting several one-on-ones with candidates that may not even want the job or may not be qualified. If you only need to conduct one (or, depending on the volume of candidates you may have, two or three) interview, chances are you’ll be more focused on the task, asking the right questions, and have the energy to not zone out while a candidate is speaking.

The group interview also has a way of separating the wheat from the chaff. In a group setting, a good candidate stands out being relatable, being personable and overall being attentive throughout the process. If they’re lively during the interview process, it shows they want the job. Those who don’t exhibit much enthusiasm in this group setting may not be as interested in the job.

Introverts might be wary of this group interview, since louder candidates can dominate the process. But if you’re in a skills-based industry, try adding a training exercise that candidates can complete alone or with a group. This will show you who can work with a team and produce results, and the introverts in the group will feel more confident when presented with the opportunity to prove themselves.

When You Need to Nail It: The Panel Interview

Maybe you don’t have a plethora of new hires, and have the time and resources to dedicate if it meant getting the right hire, such as in a high-level or executive position. In these cases, you’re going to get the best possible interview experience from a panel interview. A white paper from the revenue consulting firm Gendreau Group found panel interview to go far beyond any interview process when it came to nabbing the best hires:

“Based on our 25+ years of hiring, managing, and consulting experience, we have found that organizations that use a team approach to interviewing and candidate selection tend to make much smarter hiring decisions than when decisions are made individual managers based on one-on-one interviews.”

A panel interview, according to Adler Group CEO Lou Adler, eliminates the biases of the individual interview, since one superficial feature of a candidate that could favorably sway one interviewer could sway another against the candidate. This leads to a larger emphasis on performance, leading to a 20-30% increase in interview accuracy. If you’re looking for the absolutely best person for the job, having a more accurate interview is invaluable.

2015 is already looking like a busy year for recruiters, and with more funds and candidates at their disposal, the tried-and-true group and panel interviews could prove some of the most valuable assets in a recruiter’s toolbox.

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How to Cast a Vision for Your Company in 2015

After a few weeks into the new year, it’s easy to turn your back on your New Year’s resolutions. However, in order for your business to accomplish its goals this year, you must persevere. In order to make a real and lasting change, you have to understand where the weaknesses are in your company so you can actively plan how to change them in the future. 

 

Cast-Vision

 

Recognize Weak Spots

The first step in creating goals for your organization is assessing the company’s strengths and weaknesses. Understanding where frailties are and how they affect productivity in the office. Now, not all organizations have the same strengths, nor do they have the same weaknesses. That’s why it’s important to take time to evaluate your own. Take example from other industry professionals, but any change or analysis has to be adjusted to fit your company ethics and culture.

Anything from optimizing a website, to increasing employee engagement, to leadership interaction among the team – and anything in between – can be areas for improvement. Leadership is a hot topic for development as Millennials are beginning to enter leadership positions. Gwen Morgan (@gwenmorgan), contributor to FastCompany and EntMagazine , said:

“But how does an individual get a glimpse into the areas that need shoring up in order to develop maximum leadership potential? If you don’t have access to sophisticated feedback and mentoring programs at your company, you can do some sleuthing and data-mining on your own to get more insight.”

 

Get SMART

The ever popular system is popular for a reason. SMART goals are easy ways to set, maintain, and reach goals effectively. Use Specific language to explain how and when you plan to reach the goal. That goal has to be Manageable, however. If the objective isn’t measurable, it’ll be difficult for the team to stay on task and engaged until the deadline. The goals can’t be too big that they are difficult or impossible to achieve, so make them reasonable enough so the team can Attain the objectives. These goals need to be meaningful to all of your employees, so make them Relevant to not only the organization but the team as well. Set a hard deadline so the goals are clearly time-based; however, set that Time frame so it is doable rather than stressful.

According to Leadership IQ, only 15% of employees feel SMART goals are useful. However, it’s probable that the goals set weren’t actually smart. These goals can only effectively be used when the company leadership closely examines what the original issues were and critically think about how to fix them. Quick fixes are not blanket solutions, nor are SMART goals cookie cutter objectives. 

 

Why the change is necessary

Children function better in an atmosphere that is structured. No, I am not saying that your employees are like your children and they most certainly shouldn’t be treated as such. However, growth is best fostered within an environment that has a sense of formal structure. A team that has this type of base is more likely to grow in a unified direction. That’s what goals do for your organization. Clear and consistent goals over a given period of time trends towards higher productivity rates within your employees. Take a large, quarter-end project for example. Setting a stream of consistent goals for a larger end goal is more likely to be motivating than one massive and daunting goal at the end of the quarter. Immediate and realistic goals reduce diminishing returns (for each unit invested, less is produced).

SMART goals help to ensure your employees are growing both personally and in line with what your organization needs for healthy development. Without goals in place, fixing problem areas or departments in the organization can become a muddled mess. SMART goals help to keep the entire team aligned to help accomplish the necessary change. 

Your team needs an end goal, but they also need guidance to get there effectively and on time so you can achieve the vision for your company in 2015.

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Hiring 101: How to Hire Even If You Have No Experience in Hiring

Medium and small businesses don’t always have the dedicated HR staff of large organizations. With that said, recruiting and hiring are often performed individuals who don’t have the same training and experience as most HR professionals. Even if you’re new to the hiring and recruiting processes, there are tools at your disposal to better your understanding and your practices. 

Hiring

Turn Employees into Ambassadors

Job boards and social media outlets, while a substantial source for candidates, are not the insider’s only trick for best sourcing. Word of mouth in combination with technology remains more powerful in attracting candidates to a position. Use Employee Referral Programs (ERPs) in addition to the use of job boards to attract potential candidates based on the experience of employees who are employer brand ambassadors.

Don’t Ignore Job Boards

Although ERPs do bring in valuable new hires, that doesn’t mean hiring managers should ignore the job board channel. Make the best of the job boards researching the sites that fit your needs and target your ideal candidates. Research the audiences so you can gain a better understanding of the niche groups. Sites like Indeed, which gets 30% of all job-search traffic, are good sites for mass employment efforts. However, when you’re hiring for a specific position such as a creative director or programmer, niche job boards provide a narrower search field with more qualified candidates.

Look Internally First

Job boards will lead you to external candidates, but first, have you taken the time to observe internal candidates? During their first two years, external candidates make more money but don’t perform as well as internal candidates. In fact, 60% of external hires are more likely than internal hires to be fired or laid off, and another 20% are more likely to leave a job. It’s not always a possibility to hire internally, however. If you don’t have the internal candidate base, then look to external hiring measures.

Tweet This: 60% of external hires are more likely than internal hires to be fired or laid off.

Is Your Ideal Candidate Ideal?

It’s not enough to examine the quality of a candidate’s work experience. Employers have to understand a candidate’s fit in the company culture. However qualified a candidate might be, the fact is, 89% of all new hire failures happen within the first 18 months because of attitudinal reasons. You have to assess job-specific qualifications and personality matches to the company culture and stresses of the job. Even the best set of technical skills just won’t cut it. 

Tweet This: 89% of all new hire failures happen within the first 18 months because of attitudinal reasons.

Don’t Sacrifice Quality for Quantity

“Logically, you may assume that the more people you interview, the better your chances of finding that perfect new employee. But when it comes to smart recruiting, it’s candidate quality – not quantity – that really matters.” – Berks & Beyond (@berksandbeyond)

Due to the growth of developing businesses, they have an added pressure to assess candidates quickly. However, don’t hastily sacrifice quality for quantity. Attempting to sift through the pile of resumes at warp speed can leave those in charge of recruitment and hiring vulnerable to mistakes and disorganization, not to mention the potential to miss great candidates. Doing so can damage the employer brand and reflect poorly on the organization.

Look at Work Samples

Want a reliable way to assess candidates? Look at real examples of their work. Those in hiring positions can ask for examples of work as part of an application requirement. For writers, ask them to bring writing examples; for programmers, ask them to bring examples of coding. If the examples of work match your expectations of a new hire’s work, then you can assess for cultural fit.

For those who aren’t HR professionals but still have to recruit candidates to their small business, assessing them can be a daunting task. However, utilizing employer brand ambassadors to spread the word of job openings is a good place to start if you’re unfamiliar with the territory of job boards. Even looking internally before looking for candidates outside the organization can ease some of the pressure. Regardless of where you decide to begin your candidate search, it’s essential that the assessment is a combination of skill and cultural match. Use samples of work to help determine the candidate’s functional fit. Then, the interviews can be saved for assessing a cultural match. Despite the novelty of hiring new employees for the non-HR savvy, you can use these practices to guide you through the process. 

 

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What Are Good Communication Skills and Why Do We Need Them?

Recruiters and job seekers alike see the words “Communication skills” plastered on just about every job ad they read or write, and with good reason. It’s cited as the #1 desired soft skill among employers in a recent survey the NACE. Everyone wants an employee that can communicate well in the workplace. But what does “communicating well” really mean?

Communication-Skills

Speaking Well

Online course-taking website Udemy’s blog offers a good rundown of what communication skills employers find most valuable.  They include:

  • Listening – using active listening to better understand what someone else is saying
  • Empathy – being aware of the needs of others through what they say to you
  • Patience – not losing your cool the second you send an email and don’t get a reply
  • Clarity – making sure your message gets across the first time
  • Honesty – be honest about your expectations of someone what they should expect from you
  • Self-improvement – being able to properly take criticism
  • Positive attitude – letting other people feed off your positive energy

We need to also consider body language, since it can often dominate a conversation more than our tone or words. Making sincere eye contact, dressing well, and having good posture can make the difference when asking for a raise, making a pitch, or working with a client, and employees aren’t getting a handle on it either.

Employers look for these skills because they can’t be easily taught in the workplace. The qualities that make up communication skills might seem simple to learn, but employers don’t see them in the workforce as much as they’d like to: 60% of employers noted in a recent survey that many applicants lack the communication and interpersonal skills needed to thrive in the workplace, and 44% noted in another survey that those same skills are the biggest skill gap they want to close. 

 

Tweet This: 60% of employers say many applicants lack the communication skills needed to thrive in the workplace.

 

Communication skills are valuable, employers know that, and not enough candidates have them. But why are they so important? 

The Importance of Communication 

Communication is vital to getting work done in any field, and employees are recognizing this as well. Of the people who’ve identified their workplace as a bad place for communication, 34% of them have cited communication as a bottleneck for productivity. 30% say that they don’t have the information necessary to perform their job as best as they can. 86% say a lack of communication leads to project failure. If your workplace doesn’t have enough people who recognize the value of communication, chances are they won’t be able to disseminate the right information to the people who need it on time, leading to people waiting on emails and time wasted on employees answering follow-up questions.

 

Tweet This: 86% of employees say a lack of communication leads to project failure.

 

It’s a problem that not’s going away, but not many employers are doing much about it besides actively looking for those skills when they hire. Only 27% of employees get communication training once they’re on board, and as few of them are confident about their ability to communicate in the workplace. It gets worse: only 18% of employees get evaluated for their communication skills during performance reviews. Employers clearly think communication skills are important to working in their offices, but they’re not affirming or reversing their first impressions of a candidate as much as they should. 

 

Tweet This: Only 18% of employees get evaluated for their communication skills during performance reviews.

 

Implementing communication skills training is more than just a small-scale solution. 60% of employers who train employees in People Management Practices (PMP) see a positive ROI within three years. Even executives looking at landing jobs need to evaluate their communication skills.

Share on LinkedIn: “I like to ask people what they’ve read, what are the last three or four books they’ve read, and what did they enjoy about those. And to really understand them as individuals because, you know . . . you have to probe a little bit deeper into the human intangibles, because we’ve all seen many instances where people had perfect résumés, but weren’t effective in an organization.” — Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta Airlines (@Delta)

So we know that communication skills are, why employers value them, why employees need them, and have identified the problems they both have in learning, teaching, and developing them.

What’s the best way to find communicative clients and train the ones you have? 

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The Skill No One is Talking About… Yet

Tech, interpersonal communication, and teamwork skills are just some of the prerequisites for many jobs. But there are other attributes that should deem a candidate worthy of further consideration. The paramount trait of these unspoken skills is creativity. It’s more than the chair you made… it’s how you made it.

Creativity spawns innovation in the work place. Tech skills and interpersonal communication skills are the current industry buzzwords, but companies like 3M and Hewlett-Packard are one step ahead of the recruiting competition. They allow employees to develop their creative skills in unique ways. Inspiring creative confidence in employees yields products like 3M’s Post-It Notes.

Skill

3M Magic

Since 1948, 3M has encouraged their employees to spend 15% of their time at work on their own projects. Not just using work time, but work resources as well, to create teams in “pursuit of problem-solving.”

It took Spencer Silver, chemist for 3M, years to perfect his idea. He was tasked to develop the biggest and best adhesive yet. However, his innovative thought was an idea for a bookmark. The bookmark needed to be able to stick to the page without ripping the paper. “It was part of my job as a researcher to develop new adhesives, and at that time we wanted to develop bigger, stronger, tougher adhesives,” Silver said. “This was none of those.” Silver had created sticky microspheres in the first step towards his non-damaging, sticky bookmark. It wasn’t until a collaborative moment with colleague Art Fry that the microspheres welcomed a practical application. Post-It Notes are found in nearly every office and home office in the United States. They are the brainchild that was the result of time spent dedicated to creativity.

Allowing employees time and resources to work on their own projects not only increases employee engagement, but also company loyalty. Only 18% of employees have the capability to think creatively or strategically at work. Give your employees time to work on their own projects and see what innovation your company can inspire. After all, without that 15% of time dedicated to working on personal projects, we wouldn’t have the Post-It Note.

 

Tweet This: Only 18% of employees have the capability to think creatively or strategically at work.

 

Hewlett-Packard Imagination

For the last 45 years, HP has provided labs for their employees to be innovative. These research facilities are “where vision, passion, and ambition become life-changing reality.”

The Machine is HP’s answer to the overwhelming amount of global data. Where did The Machine come from? The HP labs. Computing standards have changed in the last 60 years due to HP lab-founded innovation. It started with a re-imagination of the physical structure of computers. In response to the explosive need for data storage and concern for global protection, HP developed a way to connect data in the cloud and on site. The Machine uses lasers, photons, ions, and electrons instead of copper wires. The first computer took up an entire room; The Machine is merely the next step in saving [virtual] space.

Personal creativity at work leads to corporate innovation with projects like HP’s The Machine. Although Google is touted for dedicating 20% of work hours to professional innovation, they weren’t the first ones. Hewlett-Packard and 3M were the original companies candidates applied to for creative freedom during work hours.

There’s a chance creative employees will leave their organizations if they are not given freedom to explore their creative sides. A surprising 36% of adults leave jobs in pursuit of employment opportunities that give them innovative freedom. 29% of these adults would even take a pay cut in order to have the ability to be creative at work.

 

Tweet This: 36% of adults leave jobs in pursuit of employment opportunities that give them innovative freedom.

 

Allowing for creativity in the workplace sets these companies aside from the rest. Economic and recruiting success comes from an amalgamation of creative talent, technological skill, and an organizational acceptance of both during work hours. While soft skills and training are still important to the relevancy of a candidate during the recruitment process, look towards personal hobbies and interests. These candidate attributes can indicate innovative thought processes. Your organization can foster this creativity allowing work hours and resources for project development. Creativity is the skill up to bat… get ahead of the game and start recruiting for creativity as a soft skill.

Recruit like the elite; target the skills not yet on the radar. We can help you pinpoint these candidate characteristics.
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3 Tips for Great Software Implementations from #DTHR

In case you missed it, our very own CEO, Sean Pomeroy, was recently on the DriveThru HR podcast, where he covered a number of interesting topics regarding HR technology with hosts Bryan WempenNisha Raghavan and William Tincup including the false promise that alluring technology can often make, how to create team chemistry beyond technology, and the desire to get his open weekends back after having kids. But what we really loved was how he gave simple, smart tips about great software implementations (after all, that’s what we do).

Vintage-Car

 

1. Don’t Fall for the New and Shiny

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the show was people need to begin stepping away from the idea that a piece of technology alone will solve a problem, and that once they have the latest and greatest in whatever process they’re trying to optimize, the solutions will quickly arise. Your search should begin with a solution to a problem and how technology can help fix that, not what new piece of tech you can use.

Share on LinkedIn
“I remember someone telling me one time, ’nobody buys a drill because they want a drill. Nobody says gosh, I want the best drill ever! They buy a drill because they want a hole.’” – Sean Pomeroy, (@Sean_Pomeroy)

 

2. Don’t Always Aim For Perfection 

One of the biggest issues the hosts cited when a group begins using a new technology is having to repeat part of the process after the company has become more well-acquainted with the tools. The core of the problem is communication, and neither the client nor the vendor are really at fault. Clients don’t always begin a project with a perfect strategy and can lose sight of the goal after seeing the bells and whistles. Better best practices brief, asking questions about what the client wished they had. The goal of perfection can interfere with the actual task.

Share on LinkedIn: “We’re getting ready to record a video library. We already have a lot of our items… and instead of trying to get everything perfect… I’m having my team try to have more fun with it. It’s okay if you cough in the middle, it’s okay if you have verbal slip here or there, or if something’s not perfect, and so I think these things help build a relationship between parties.” – Sean Pomeroy, (@Sean_Pomeroy)

 

3. Establish a Human Relationship With Clients 

Vendors want to be considered collaborators, not just vendors. Can they ever become trusted advisors? According to Sean, they can. He looks at the process of a new hire as dating, and you have to give and take in a relationship. Visibility Software has what we call outbound tech support, where we ask a client if they have any questions about the software, or if anything’s bothering them. By letting the client know that the relationship works both ways, we’re able to foster better relationships with our clients and earn their trust. Don’t just keep selling to them. Don’t confuse support with sales.

“As a software technology user, I get tired of having an account person call me every month, and I start to say I have problem — ‘oh, you can open a case, you can call, you can do that’ Then I get a new guy for the tools we’re using every six months and he says ‘oh, do you have twenty minutes to meet?’ and the first thing that he asks is ‘how many more user seats do you need for this month, or this year?’” – Sean Pomeroy, (@Sean_Pomeroy)

 

Finally, the DTHR crew asked Sean where he thought HR technology would go in the next year. For us, it’s becoming apparent that LMS is up and coming, while ATS are already established. There’s also the historic battle between staffing ATS and ATS, which has now become a battle of auxiliary features. With more auxiliary technology, like posting and social media tools, cropping up everywhere, it’s becoming clear that these technologies don’t have core aspects of the trade like applicant or requisition management. The end result ATS will try to implement the auxiliary features and the auxiliary features will try to build a proper ATS. More mergers, more consolidations, more acquisitions, more startups are a guarantee as well, which, in Sean’s mind, will make for a much more competitive and interesting field.

 

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Gender Gaps in Workplace Mentor Programs

Gender GapIt’s rude to let someone walk around with a piece of spinach in their teeth from lunch, right? Well, there’s a piece of spinach in your training and mentorship program. Although there have been great advances in closing the gender gap, it’s still present in some aspects of the workplace. Mentoring programs are still affected the gap.

Women hold the majority of entry-level positions at 53%. However when they begin to climb the leadership ladder, they leave management positions upon reaching higher rungs. Currently, women only make up 14.6% of senior management and vice president positions in Fortune 500 companies. This staunch difference between entry-level jobs and higher leadership could be attributed to the underrepresentation of women in mentorship programs

Gloria Larson, President of Bentley University, said:

“As women get close to attaining leadership positions, they need someone to turn to for help reaching that next step. One of the reasons so many women drop out of middle management positions is they don’t see other female staffers in similar jobs around them.”

According to a study Bentley University, 55% of the women surveyed agreed that women-specific mentorship programs have the potential to help women succeed in higher corporate positions. Another 52% said that women-specific networking could help women flourish in the workplace. The Bentley University study also showed that 57% of recruiters believe women are better candidates to begin with, so how do they drop so far in numbers as they climb the corporate ladder?

What’s being done to close the gap

There is still a disparity in the proportion of men to women in tech fields. However, Facebook, Pinterest, and Box have initiated a program to increase mentorship programs for women in tech fields. The program is called WEST – Women Entering and Staying in Tech. Facebook said in a recent statement:

“Mentorship can be incredibly influential in a woman’s career, and we’re excited to be tackling this challenge together. We believe that working together and providing more direct support, advocacy, and space for community development, we can create an impactful, scalable, one-on-one mentorship program to help women build and grow meaningful careers in tech.”

Men must play a part, too

“Every company wants to know how to find and keep highly talented women in the workplace.” – Marcus Buckingham, founder at TMBC

While women are a key role in developing a stronger female presence in any given mentoring program, men must play a key role as well. Even 37% of men agreed that male leadership could be an active part of a female mentorship program. The one-on-one mentorship programs like WEST are a start to the change. However incorporating men as mentors takes the process one step further.

Women’s rights and gender equity in the workplace advocates, like Bryan Pelley, note that a large issue with men’s roles in female mentorship is the male motivation for equality in the workplace. They choose to treat them the same – despite the fact they have different needs in the workplace – in an effort to not coddle very capable women. Pelley said:

“I’m comfortable with the idea that treating people ‘equally’ doesn’t actually mean treating people the same. You sometimes need to make adjustments to make sure people have an equal opportunity to succeed.”

Although there should be equal opportunities for success in the workplace, mentorship opportunities for men and women are not the same. Strides are being made towards mentorship equity. Better-suited and one-on-one mentorship programs targeted towards women could help to close the gap for women in tech fields. It could also close the gap between high-level positions between men and women. 

Because many organizations don’t have the same initiatives as WEST put in motion, there is a large difference in the number of men and women in managerial and senior levels. Change the underrepresentation of women in mentorship programs to see a higher number of women in high-level jobs.  

Tools like Visibility Software’s Cyber Train can get your company on the right path towards a better mentorship program. You can track training and manage program enrollments for the ease of tracking employee success. The automated approval streamlines the process, so there’s no need to wait on communication between management levels.

Have you reevaluated your training program lately? We have all the blocks and mortar you need to build a new one. Give us a call to get started. 

 

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6 Reasons to Develop a Mentorship-style Training Program

Training ProgramGrowing up, children often look up to their parents for guidance. However, that guidance doesn’t have to stop in professional adulthood. Kevin Systrom, Mark Zuckerberg, Reid Hoffman, and other technology all-stars all had mentors. What does each of these people have in common? Their businesses were successful with the help of mentors in the last 15 years. Mentorship isn’t just a method teacher’s use in middle school to help cultivate generations for the future. Mentorship is a tool to professionally develop employees as well.

Mentors help new hires to create professional relationships with company leadership; however, the company as a whole will benefit from a mentorship program as well. An effective program will help organizations reach higher retention, meet diversity initiatives, and increase employee engagement.

What’s in it for you?

Increase your retention rates – This is perhaps one of the most important reasons mentorship programs matter in your workplace. Retention is critical to the health and growth of your organization. Successful pairing of mentors and mentees increase retention rates. In fact, retention rates were 72% higher for mentees and 69% higher for mentors in companies that created effective training programs. 

Build your employer brand loyalty – Mentorship programs increase employees’ loyalty to the organization. 70% of the Fortune 500 companies have official mentor programs. After all, they didn’t become Fortune 500 companies without employees who believed in the value of their organization. A company can showloyalty to employees through a mentorship program. Paul McDonald, Senior Executive Director at Robert Half, a staffing firm, says it’s important to show your appreciation in daily actions…

“Ask yourself am I loyal to my team. How do I show it. Do I work as hard as they do? Am I alongside them shoulder to shoulder in the trenches during peak times and do I have their back during rough times?”

Meeting your diversity initiatives – New hires and leaders who have similar interests, backgrounds, education, etc., have great potential to make a successful mentor/mentee team. Pairing the right employees and management personnel together can benefit from diversity initiatives as well as strengthen mentor programs. China Gorman, CEO at Great Place to Work Institute, says: 

“Today there is a wider awareness that the diversity focus should also consider values like cultural fluency, global mindset, language skills, etc., or ‘acquired’ diversity.”

Increase employee engagement – A mentorship program has the potential to change the 70% of disengaged employees into workers who are engaged and involved in the workplace. If an employee feels that their work is noticed and appreciated, they are more likely to be engaged in the workplace. Mentors can help to foster this productive atmosphere.

What’s in it for your employees?

Create meaningful relationships with leadership – Mentorship isn’t simply a tool with results that can be systematically measured. It’s a combination of careful planning and relationship development. Jeanne Meister, author of “The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop, and Keep Tomorrow’s Employees Today,” explains it best:

“A lot of companies’ structured mentoring programs have failed as they have tried to put structure to something that is basically a relationship.”

Opportunities for professional development – Your employees will gain professional knowledge at the hands of your managerial staff. What about the development of your management team? Managerial staff who participate in a mentor program are promoted 6x more often than those who opted out of the mentorship program.

Mentor programs are healthy additions to any onboarding program. They increase new hire involvement and create working professional relationships between the new hires and veteran employees. Creating company loyalty isn’t an easy task. Leaders have to show employees their loyalty to the team. You can do so utilizing a mentorship program.

By pairing the right leaders and employees together, you can create an atmosphere in which both leadership and new hires can learn something from each other. Your employees depend on the job to give them a sense of professional development, and the best place to start is with a mentorship program. Succession of knowledge to new employees provides continuity within the organization. It’s more than a teaching tool; it’s a professional development tool. The greats had mentors… where are yours?

The right training can augment your current mentorship program. Give us a call, we can set you up with Cyber Train to get you started.

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photo credit: MilitaryHealth via photopin cc

The Value of Interns: Paid or Unpaid

InternInternships are requirements for many college degrees and a distinct pathway to new experiences when looking into new career fields. Some students are lucky to get vital work experience in their internship… others not so much. Are your interns getting more than your morning coffee?

Interns – paid or unpaid – are more than just volunteers. They sought out your company to learn the industry and prepare themselves for work after college. So in order to properly mentor these eager workers, give them something meaningful to accomplish during while they complete another degree requirement. If handled correctly, interns can be a dynamic and vibrant addition to your talent pipeline. 

Need Some Fresh Ideas?

Look no further. Interns bring with them a deluge of creative ideas. New people have the potential to initiate projects and new methodologies with energy and timeliness to spare. Many are well into their junior and senior years of college – the time when much of the degree targeted classes are taught and just a year to two away from entry-level talent. They are learning things other company team members may have forgotten under the burden of years of experience or during the daily grind, plus they can be eager to learn and quick to take direction from senior team members. Internships are designed to give college students experience; however, they can open doors for you and your team as well. 

Learning Curve(s)

Yes, students apply for internships in order to fill college requirements. However, they are with the organization to learn something. The best part – their supervisors can learn a thing or two as well. Interns allow leaders to perfect their managerial skills in addition to mentoring the next generation of the organization’s employees. This isn’t just a valuable opportunity for upper management but to fill the pipeline with your younger employees who have yet to manage more than your desk Ficus. 

Victor Lipman (@VictorLipman1) of Howling Wolf Management Training gave some guidelines on the best practices for managing interns:

  • Actually give them something to do – More than errand boys (and girls), interns can give back to the organization. Assign them tasks and projects that add value to the organization but don’t expose the company to risk. Most of them are new to the professional atmosphere, so offer guidance if needed. Ultimately, make sure they feel their work contributes to the company.

  • Give constructive criticism – Feedback is crucial to professional development and progression of your intern team. Good and bad, constructive criticism is motivational for you and the intern as you learn how to help them move forward.

  • Don’t forget about the evaluation – Let your interns know how their work impacted the organization. They’ve put a number of work hours into this learning process, so respect the time spent with an evaluation. Allow them the time to give their experience and what they learned as well.

Opportunity for Successful Recruitment

Your interns did a great job. You managed them well. Now turn them into your best asset, talent. Effectively turning your internship program into a recruitment tool is a way to lower your recruitment and onboarding costs. These individuals already know inner workings of the organization and have the training under their belt and chances are, they’re a cultural fit.

You’ve already got engaged workers on your hands, so why not save 76% in cost per hire? Convert interns from college students to full-time employees without the need for job listings, expensive advertising campaigns and tedious hiring cycles. However, it’s difficult to recruit interns to full-time positions if all they ever did was replace the binder clips. In fact, 63% of paid interns were offered full-time employment last year.

Rachelle Falls (@CorporateHRGirl), Founder & Chief Strategist of Sun Strategies said: 

“Right now, this millennial candidate wants to get to work and make a difference. They’re eager to be taught and to learn – all while putting their summer internship to good use.”

On a very basic level, internships are required for many degrees, though not all. The ultimate goal after graduation is to find a good job. So, it stands to reason that 32% of graduates who had an internship during their college career are fully employed.

This is an entry point for many interns into the professional world all while developing connections. Paid and unpaid interns are more than volunteers, they are students learning the inner workings of the professional world. As such, your team of interns should be doing more than getting just your morning coffee. Invite them to project meetings, give them a voice during the discussion, and see what kind of ingenuity sparks within your team. After all, hosting a robust internship program with well-developed training is an easy and inexpensive way to recruit the best and brightest for your team. 

Do you have the tools to get your internship training program off the ground? We can give you a lift.

 

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