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The Real Value of an Employee Development and Training Strategy

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The Real Value of an Employee Development and Training Strategy

Many organizations that we speak with tell us that while they understand the value of employee training and development, they aren’t certain they need a formal learning management program to deliver, track and manage that training. Many of these organizations track the training they do provide in spreadsheets or even with paper files. While we can agree that any approach is better than no approach, learning management programs are ideal candidates for automation. There are big benefits to be realized from standardizing processes and automating the workflow surrounding employee training, and here we take a look at just a few of those benefits. 

Aids retention

Studies tell us that 40 percent of employees who receive poor job training leave their positions within the first year, citing the lack of skills training and development as the principal reason for moving on. Employee development and training programs help employees feel invested in their jobs and in their organizations. A well-established program ensures that employees continue to feel motivated to advance their own careers within the company, as well as to advance the company’s mission, rather than turning elsewhere for new opportunities. 

Attracts job seekers

An organization that has a standardized employee development plan reassures job seekers that the company is invested in their long-term success and advancement within the organization. Applicants are less likely to invest themselves in a company that doesn’t show the same commitment in return. A recent Bersin study noted, “Companies with career management programs are better able to attract and retain top talent, leading to higher employee engagement and, in turn, a positive impact on the bottom line.” 

Automates manual processes

If your training requirements are modest, it may be tempting to continue to use the collection of spreadsheets to track course offerings, registrations and certification renewals, but deploying a smart learning management solution, you can dramatically reduce the overhead involved, saving money and driving efficiency. From automatic reminders to employees and their supervisors, to enrollment tracking and training reimbursement request handling, through an automated approval workflow, a dedicated learning management solution can generate a rapid and significant return on investment.   

Promotes consistency

With formalized training, you can be certain that vital functions and tasks are taught in a consistent, precise manner, ensuring that all employees receive the same information. You can of course develop your own training in house, but most organizations rely at least in part, on professionally-produced training courses. Depending upon the specific training provided, the value of such consistency may vary from improved productivity to reduced liability for the company. 

Streamlines compliance

From sexual harassment awareness training, OSHA-mandated safety training, through business ethics – it’s not just that proper training is the right thing to do, training protects your company from potentially devastating law suits and fines. A learning management solution helps ensure employees (and you as the employer) are in compliance with job requirements and the law. The software can track certification expirations, courses due, and notifications and accreditation requirements, helping maintain strict compliance and protecting both you and your employees. 

It makes financial sense

Increased revenue is a common goal across many organizations, and investing in employee training to support that goal makes financial sense. For example: 

  • The Cheesecake Factory invests an average of $2000 annually per employee on training. The chain enjoys sales of $1000 per square foot, almost double the restaurant industry average. 
  • Payroll provider ADP coaches some sales associates on managing virtual teams and time management. Those that participate had an average of seven percent growth in sales. 
  • Motorola has found that every dollar invested on training can yield as much as a 30 percent gain in productivity within three years, which has helped them cut costs $3 billion and increase profits 47 percent. 

For more in-depth tips on taking employee learning and development to the next level, check out our Best Practices Guide – 3 Steps to Achieve Talent Development that Drives Organizational Success

 

Two Essential Components of a Positive Candidate Experience

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What is the candidate experience, and why does it really matter?

Recruiting.com defines the candidate experience as the series of interactions that a job seeker has with your company throughout the recruiting process. These interactions include any communication that a candidate receives from your brand messaging, software systems and/or employees.

Clearly, the candidate experience is important to job seekers—and thus critical to employers. But how do you help ensure you’re providing a quality candidate experience? One way is focusing on these two essential components: quality communication and effective management of the candidate process.

Quality Communication

Anybody who’s applied for a job knows that candidates are eager to hear back from employers. Yet often candidates are left in the dark, waiting weeks or even months for emails or phone calls that may never come.  

So it’s no surprise that 34% of job seekers say that more communication during the hiring process would improve their candidate experience. The only surprise is that the percentage isn’t ever higher. 

More evidence that communication from employers is often lacking comes from a CareerBuilder study: 36% of candidates expect to be updated throughout the application process, yet only 26% of employers actively communicate to candidates what stage of the process they’re in.  

The takeaway is clear: evaluate your communication with candidates. Are you consistently letting them know the information they want to know (if they’re being considered for a position, if they’re moving forward in the process, if they’re out of the running, etc.) in a reasonably timely manner? Or are you leaving them wondering and waiting?  

Candidates don’t want to be left hanging—even if they aren’t going to be considered for a position. The easiest and best way to keep them informed, and to give them a positive experience, is to provide regular, clear communication from the start. 

How Modern Talent Acquisition Software Can Help: Technology prevents candidates from falling through the cracksin your communication sending automated email communication to candidates based on where they are in the process. The right messages are sent to the right candidates at the right times—every time. 

Effective Management of the Candidate Process

If your candidate process goes on … and on … and on, candidates will sour on their experience and your organization no matter how well you communicate with them. 

In fact, 83 percent of job seekers say that a long hiring process would either significantly or somewhat worsen their candidate experience. It’s critical to get candidates from the application to the end of the process in a reasonable time frame. That means moving candidates from stage to stage in your process in a reasonable amount of time. It’s also important to limit the pain candidates experience in any stage of the process. 

It’s worth noting that the start of the candidate process is a common trouble spot, with 90% of job seekers calling extremely long application forms a cause of a poor candidate experience. Limiting the pain candidates experience in filling out your application forms is a key part of getting more candidates to apply, and for getting the entire candidate process off to a good start.  

How Modern Talent Acquisition Software Can Help: Software helps your hiring process run smoothly for all parties. It makes applying easier prepopulating relevant application forms with data pulled from LinkedIn, job boards and straight from résumés. And it provides routing notification to immediately inform your internal team when it’s time to take a next step in the hiring process. This eliminates internal process delays and miscommunication, two common causes of long hiring processes. 

For more tips on improving your candidate experiece and overall recruiting success, check out our webinar recording: 

Game Changing Strategies to Elevate Your Recruiting Success 

View Recording 

 

The Evolving Role of Recruiters

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Recruiters as brand ambassadors – as opposed to salespeople – for your organization

Let’s face it. It’s a candidate-driven marketplace out there. It is more difficult than ever to attract and retain qualified employees. As a recruiter, you’re charged with filling open positions with the most qualified candidates. But there’s more to it than attracting top talent; you need to find the right match for your organization so every hire becomes a productive, engaged, long-term employee. Competing for talent in a buyers’ market requires the recruiter’s role to evolve from a transactional salesperson to a brand ambassador – responsible for establishing the organization’s reputation as a desirable place to work, and keeping the attention of both today’s and tomorrow’s job seekers. Just what makes a brand ambassador and how can you get there?

Convey Your Brand

As an ambassador, your job is not to sell applicants on your company. Instead, you want to serve as a matchmaker, accurately communicating the organization’s brand and identifying applicants’ individual brands to find an ideal match.

What do we mean when we speak of a brand? In this context, it’s not a marketing term. Your brand is your organization’s essence – it’s core values. It helps to think of the organization as a person and assign personality traits to it. Is your organization resourceful, adaptable, creative, independent, serious, spontaneous, responsible? And you’ll need to think beyond the organization’s brand to consider both the department and hiring manager’s brands as well.

You, as a recruiter, are the initial human point of contact for your company’s brand and are in the unique position of using both your experience and your discretion to make vital hiring decisions. You’re searching for a brand match – the perfect relationship where both parties share parallel goals and approach professional life in similar way. 

Salesperson Versus Ambassador

What is ambassador-style recruiting? Essentially, it boils down to respect for the candidate. A respect for their time, their goals, their skills and their potential contribution to your organization. Here’s a look at some of the pronounced differences between salesperson- and ambassador-style recruiting. 

Salesperson-Style Recruiting

Ambassador-Style Recruiting

Match based exclusively on resume to job comparison

Match based on meeting the brand vision and goals

Focus on easily-defined “hard” skills

Consideration of “soft” skills like leadership, oral and written communication

Success based on filled vacancies and speed

Success based on engagement

On-boarding is company-focused (internal tasks and paperwork)

On-boarding is part of the employment experience and geared to promoting early success

Applicant Experience and Onboarding

An ambassador-style recruiter should understand what’s it like to be an applicant, and hone the recruiting and onboarding process to be an overall positive experience. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports that new employees decide within the first 30 days whether they feel welcome in the organization, and that one in 25 leave their jobs because of a poor (or nonexistent) onboarding program. There are areas in the applicant experience to focus on: 

  1. First impressions: Are your job listings up-to-date and does the language accurately reflect the position and the ideal applicant? Do the listings help convey your brand? Do applicants receive confirmation of the submittal of their resume or application?
  2. Process: Does the process move smoothly with organized, timely interviews? Do you process resumes efficiently? Are non-selected applicants politely notified?
  3. Finalization: Is the onboarding process geared to the applicant? Do they have the tools they need to succeed? Are early expectations communicated?

As part of the applicant experience, we can’t stress enough the importance of treating each applicant with the respect they deserve. You should be looking to attract not just today’s applicants, but tomorrow’s as well. Today’s runner up may be tomorrow’s perfect candidate.

The ambassador-style recruiter is focused on building relationships, not closing deals. By putting the applicants’ first, respecting their time and individuality, and meshing their brand with yours, your organization has the best chance to win top talent – today and beyond.

For more game-changing strategies that will dramatically improve your recruiting process, register below for webinar on March 7th, 2017 at 2:00 pm EST:

Game Changing Strategies to Elevate Your Recruiting Success

Implementing a New ATS? Follow These 5 Tips.

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Selecting a  quality applicant tracking system (ATS) that meets your needs is critical for improving your talent acquisition process and results. But if you don’t implement it successfully, even the right ATS technology won’t be much help.  

In this post, we provide five tips that will help you successfully implement a new ATS, enabling you to both get the most value and avoid headaches.  

1. Check vendor references BEFORE negotiating and signing a contract. As part of this reference checking, be sure to ask about the implementation experience. A few questions you might consider asking include:

  1. How difficult was implementation?
  2. How well did the ATS integrate with other software? (This is particularly helpful if the reference uses other software you also use.)
  3. How helpful was the provider with implementation?
  4. What suggestions do the references have based on their implementation experience?

2. Carefully prepare for implementation, including deciding which data to bring over from your old ATS. There’s a famous quotation Benjamin Franklin: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Avoid unnecessary implementation problems being prepared and organized. An important part of this is determining which data you will bring over from your old ATS, and which you won’t. The amount of data you bring over often impacts the length of your implementation process.

3. Test your new ATS. Ensure that it meets your specifications and expectations. Verify you’re getting what you’re paying for—that your new ATS lives up to what you’ve been promised and seen during demos. As part of this, ensure the ATS integrates properly with other software you use. Lackluster integration is a common source of frustration. Don’t let it happen to you.

4. Get users trained fully and effectively on the ATS. This includes recruiters and hiring managers, but also others who will be using it. Ensure they know how to use features and functionality that are important for getting the most value from your new ATS. Those great reporting capabilities don’t do much good if users don’t know they exist, or don’t know how to access or use them.

5. Keep refining after beginning use. Take advantage of valuable updates the provider makes to your ATS. Especially with best-in-class ATSs, taking advantage of new capabilities is key to getting more value. Additionally, give existing users training refreshers as necessary, and ensure new users are trained fully.

Follow these tips. They should help your organization implement your ATS successfully, and help you get great results from the start. 

Are you considering changing to a new ATS? Before you make such an important decision, download “5 Questions to Ask When Switching Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).It will help you make a smart decision. 

 

Selecting Your New ATS: Best-in-Class or End-to-End?

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One of the most important choices employers face when deciding on a new applicant tracking system is: Do we want a best-in-class (aka best-of-breed) solution, or an ATS that’s part of an end-to-end system? 

It’s an important choice because best-in-class solutions and end-to-end systems have clear advantages. If you make the right choice for your particular needs, there’s a good chance you’ll be happy with the ATS you select. Conversely, if you make the wrong choice, you’re much less likely to be happy to be satisfied with your new ATS. 

Below are primers on understanding best-in-class ATSs versus ATSs that are part of end-to-end systems. 

Primer on Best-in-Class ATSs

These ATSs are dedicated to best-in-class performance and user experience. They integrate with other software solutions that manage post-hire needs, such as training and payroll. 

The advantages of using best-of-breed ATSs include:

  • Greater innovation and more dynamic—potentially creating a competitive advantage
  • Easier to specialize and customize
  • More rapid upgrades

Primer on ATSs That Are Part of End-to-End Systems

End-to-end systems (aka “suites”) are when individual vendors provide all of your HR technology needs, from recruiting software to training to payroll. The ATS is one component of the end-to-end system you use. 

The advantages of using end-to-end systems include:

  • Simplicity
  • Only one vendor
  • Few, if any, integrations required

Which Is the Better Choice?

In recent years, there has been much discussion and debate about whether best-in-class or end-to-end systems are better. It’s a debate without a winner to date. In fact, according to a 2016 Ernst & Young HR technology survey, the percentage of organizations that use best-in-class software is roughly the same as those that use an end-to-end system. 

As noted earlier, however, making the right choice for your particular needs is highly important. For example, if you’re having trouble sourcing and hiring the talent you need, moving to a high-quality best-of-breed system—thanks to greater innovation and customizability—could be a difference-maker. 

The Rise of Easier Integration

One of the biggest HR technology developments in recent years is that integration has become much easier. In fact, more and more best-of-breed software products are even offering a variety of plug-in integrations with other best-of-breed software. Analyst Ward Christman told TrustRadius, “I’m seeing a huge shift towards partnering to meet customer and market needs. This path is becoming easier thanks to better standards and connectivity via APIs and data interchange hubs, with additional ‘alliance building’ resources coming soon to support this need for collaboration.” 

Another analyst, Bryan Wempen, added, “I don’t feel like a shift from specialized to suites is happening, actually just the opposite. I see specialization as the trend with a focus on features for interpretation of data and analytics about everything talent.” 

It will be interesting to see if improved integration impacts the best-in-class vs. end-to-end system debate. 

Considering a new ATS? Be sure to download “5 Questions to Ask When Switching Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).” It will help you select the right ATS for your needs, and implement it successfully.  

 

First Step for Selecting a New ATS: Understand Why You Dislike Your Current One!

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You’ve decided to replace your applicant tracking system (ATS). 

Now what? 

Here’s the first thing to do. Before rushing out into the marketplace, take the time to understand your dissatisfaction with your current ATS, and what you want a new ATS to achieve. Understanding exactly why you’re dissatisfied will actually help frame and guide your ATS purchasing decision. 

How do you understand your dissatisfaction with your current ATS? Here are two ways:

  • Think about the root issues, frustrations and innovations that are driving you

to consider switching to a new ATS.

  • Take your current processes and chart out the missing pieces, problems and

bottlenecks, and focus on how you would like a new ATS to address those areas, while not taking away from the existing functionality you would like to retain. 

Next, consider the impact the right new ATS would make in the problem areas you identified, and the potential return on investment. Examples of the ROI may include:

  • Improved average time and cost to fill positions
  • Faster, more accurate hiring—avoid losing top-tier candidates to

competition, and lower turnover due to more accurate hires.

  • Bottlenecks that were once a time drain are no more, allowing more time for

higher valued tasks

  • Improved candidate experience

 Going through this process will go a long way to help you determine the best ATS to achieve your goals. So don’t skip it. 

Considering switching your ATS? Make sure to first read “5 Questions to Ask When Switching Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).” Download the article to learn how you can select the right ATS for your needs, and implement it successfully.  

Saying “yes” to Employee Engagement – It’s a long-term commitment that starts with recruiting

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Employee engagement is a workplace concept that refers to how committed employees are to their organization’s goals and values, and how motivated they are to contribute to the organization’s success. Research has shown that highly engaged employees: 

  • Are more customer focused, more creative at work, and take less sick leave
  • Care about the future of their organization and put in greater effort to help it meet its goals and objectives
  • Feel proud of the organization they work for, are inspired to do their best, and motivated to deliver
  • Are much less likely to leave the organization.

Perhaps it’s not surprising then, that companies whose employees express a high level of engagement are more profitable, have greater revenue figures, and have higher levels of customer satisfaction. A company that values its employees and invests in them right from the beginning is laying the foundation for high levels of engagement. Here are some ways your organization can begin building employee engagement during the recruiting cycle.

Meet Them Where They’re At

Social media has quickly become a powerful recruiting tool. In fact, a recent Aberdeen Group survey reported that 68 percent of “best in class” recruiters think social media is “crucial” to their recruitment strategies. Your company’s LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter accounts can help you spread the word about new job opportunities. They also help put a human touch on your organization, providing a way to introduce and showcase elements of your corporate culture and mission.

Respect Their Time

Strive to be an employer that respects candidates’ time and efforts streamlining the application process. Post open positions to your company’s website and/or an online job board like Monster.com® and Careerbuilder.com®. Make it simple for them to apply to more than one position at a time. And, send an acknowledgement email letting them know that their resume was received. An applicant tracking and recruiting solution, like Cyber Recruiter, can automate and streamline these tasks, integrating them fully into your workflow.

Conduct Effective Interviews

An interview is the first impression for both employer and candidate. It’s not only a chance for you to assess the candidate; it’s also the candidate’s chance to observe your corporate culture. As many as 42 percent of companies now employee video conferencing (solutions like Spark Hire) in the interview process. This is a great way to give both parties that vital first impression without either of you incurring the expense of an in-person interview.

Make Your Proposal  

Once you’ve identified your next hire, make the proposal a good one. Prepare and send an offer letter along with onboarding forms. Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) help speed and automate this part of the process, letting your candidate know you value them and respect their decision-making process. And of course, the applicants that were not selected deserve the same level of respect, so be certain you send them an email or letter as notification.

Prevent Information Overload

On your new employees’ first day on the job, don’t inundate them with paperwork. Much of the necessary information was gathered during the recruiting cycle, and if you’re using an ATS, that data can transfer seamlessly to your payroll and HRMS applications, eliminating the need for duplicate data entry. 

Use that first day instead to make the new employee feel welcome with an office tour, introductions to key personnel, and a welcome gift bag filled with product samples and company swag. 

Striving for high levels of employee engagement simply makes smart business sense. Think of employee engagement as a long-term, evolving relationship between your organization and your employees – one that begins long before the employee starts to work. By building employee engagement strategies into your recruiting methods, you are demonstrating that yours is a company that invests in its most valuable assets.

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For more valuable information about employee engagement and improving the talent acquisition process, check out our best practices guide – 

Best Practices Guide – 4 Key Steps to Successful Talent Acquisition

 

 Related Posts: 

7 Advantages of Using a Cloud-Based Applicant Tracking System

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As noted in a TechCrunch article, there’s “little doubt … that nearly every business and every industry is running on software delivered as online services.” 

In HR technology, the spread of cloud-based software continues in full force. According to Gartner, spending on cloud-based HR software will be 50% or more of total HR technology spending 2017. 

The reason for the proliferation, of course, is cloud-based software has some significant advantages. For example, as detailed in our new article, “5 Questions to Ask When Switching Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS),” a quality cloud-based ATS has the following seven advantages over a traditional on-premise system: 

  1. Access anywhere and anytime. On-premise systems require HR, recruiters and hiring managers to be on-site, but cloud-based systems allow them to retrieve data wherever they’re working, seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

  2. Easier implementation. Because there’s no on-premise system to install/implement.

  3. Reduced IT, capital expenses. There’s no on-premise system to implement or maintain.

  4. Get upgrades quickly. Upgrading an on-premise system can take time and be a significant technical concern, so much so that many companies forego updates. With cloud-based systems, the upgrades are handled the provider, meaning you get quick, easy access to useful new features.

  5. Integration with other software. Cloud-based systems are becoming easier and easier to integrate with other software, facilitating integration with online job portals, career sites and other SaaS applications. This allows you to access more talent, and to connect your recruiting and HR processes without using an all-in-one system.

  6. Improved user experience. Not only are quality cloud-based systems customizable for employers’ specific needs, but also having the current version eases training and customer service.

  7. Shorter-term commitment. With on-premise systems, the work associated with setting up on-site hardware and software is a major enough task that you want any ATS you use to last for years. 

If you’re considering switching your ATS, consider downloading “5 Questions to Ask When Switching Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).” It will help you select the right ATS for your needs, and implement it successfully. 

6 Benefits of Using a Quality Learning Management System

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Some tasks require that you have the right tool for the job. Training management is one of them. The right tool for the job: a quality learning management system.  

Below are six benefits of using a quality LMS that combined work to minimize headaches, maximize engagement and maximize results. 

1.
The LMS provides a centralized, on-demand location for corporate learning and training. There’s one place to go, whenever you want, no matter your role.

2. The LMS lessens the burden on all involved in the process (HR, training managers, supervisors, employees). Your HR team won’t have to juggle a dozen spreadsheets in an attempt to manage the process. Also, all parties can see the status of training activities that are relevant to them (e.g. HR can see status for all employees, individual employees can only see their own status).

3. Delays and mistakes in the process are severely reduced. Automated approvals and notifications streamline and provide direction in your learning process, and improve communication between all parties.

4. Compliance is improved. For jobs that require certification, automatic notifications of upcoming certification expirations are sent to employees, supervisors and training managers. These notifications include courses due and accreditation requirements.

5. Superior employee learning/training experience. A well-run process helps keep your employees enthusiastic about talent development—supporting a culture of learning—while a poorly run process irritates and frustrates. 

6. Self-service learning empowers employees. As noted in
Deloitte’s 2016 Human Capital Trends report, employees increasingly want to take control of their own learning. A quality LMS includes self-service training that lets your employees develop skills that they believe will help them be successful.

A quality LMS is just one key part of successful talent development. For a comprehensive look, download our article “3 Steps To Achieve Talent Development That Drives Organizational Success.” 

 

5 Actions That Set Up Your Talent Development For Success

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Talent development is an intensive and complex process that is worthwhile, if performed effectively, because of the great results you can achieve— reduced turnover, improved productivity, improved succession planning, etc. 

To accomplish these goals, you need to set up your talent development for success. Otherwise you’re program likely will be saddled with confusion, frustration and a lack of focus. Below are five actions to take. 

1. Define the required competencies for each job (e.g. soft skills, technical skills, level of experience) through a benchmarking process.

This is critical for knowing which training materials to create and/or purchase, and to know which employees should be given which training. 

2. Acquire quality, thorough, and relevant training and learning materials.

Whether created internally or from a service provider (e.g. OpenSesame), the quality of your materials has a direct role on the quality of the training—and on the results you achieve. 

3. Use a quality learning management system (LMS) to help you organize the process.

An effective talent development program requires a smooth, efficient process. The process is complex enough that it’s virtually impossible to run well without the help of technology—a learning management system. A quality LMS allows HR, employees, supervisors and training managers to know the status of training activities that are relevant to them, so everyone knows what to do. For example, HR can see the status for all employees, individual employees can see their own status. 

4. Use assessments to identify the skills and competencies employees have, and areas that need improvement.

Assessments show employees’ strengths and weaknesses in key areas, making them great tools for determining the skill and competency areas individual employees need to develop. In other words, assessments help you guide employees’ training for maximum benefit of both the employees and your organization. 

5. Create specific, reasonable goals for talent development efforts.

While these can and should be adjusted over time, having goals gives you a measuring stick for determining if your results are satisfactory or not—and if significant adjustments are needed. 

As you move forward with your talent development program, it’s important to evaluate your results for each of these actions. Have you determined the right competencies for given jobs? Are you training and learning materials of high quality and aligned with job requirements? Is your LMS working for you? Are your assessments helping guide employees’ training? Are your goals reasonable, or should they be adjusted? 

The great thing is, if you get these five actions right, you’ll be on a path to success. Of course, there’s much more that goes into talent development. For a guide that details the keys for successful talent development, download our article “3 Steps To Achieve Talent Development That Drives Organizational Success.”