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Recruiting and Training Trends Blog

Overcoming 4 Common Training Hurdles

bigstock Hamstring Injury 34440902Everyone knows that training is important. We know that it can affect 60-80% of your staff if you do it RIGHT. But the question is, how do we get to the place where we can do it right? When introducing training into an organization, even those with the best intentions can find themselves floundering because of some pretty common obstacles. Here are the four most common training hurdles and how to sail right past them!

Training Hurdle 1: I don’t wanna!

Now most of your managers may not say it exactly this way, but training initiatives don’t usually start out with 100% participation. And no amount of cajoling, ordering, yelling or snipes can make them. Even if they sit through the training at your behest, you might find them resenting even the most meaningful of presentations. That won’t affect your bottom line, at least not in a good way!

One way to avoid this is to create your training around topics that will engage your managers. Enticing topics include things that will:

  • Solve current issues
  • Spark interesting discussions
  • Make managers better at their job
  • Encourage managers and employees to work smarter, not harder

Training Hurdle 2: This makes no sense

If your managers can’t make heads or tails of what the training is supposed to teach them, you’re doing it wrong. If it’s training cobbled form another industry and doesn’t hold any meaningful application, you’re doing it wrong. If the objectives are rigid and difficult to achieve, it will create discouragement and reduce participation.

Think of it this way, if you spend a week learning to hula hoop, but then never practice again, you’ll lose the skills you worked so hard to learn. It’s the same with training. Don’t offer training on something that your managers don’t do during their daily job. Of course, modern employees find that their managers often fill multiple roles and have to quickly pivot and adapt their managerial style over the course of their career in the company. In these cases, virtual, easy-to-access programs that are ready and intuitive when needed are the very best choice.

Training Hurdle 3: Training sucks

There are a lot of articles out there that will tell you that any topic can be interesting. Perhaps. But training in the very subject that your managers are already spending at least 40 hours per week on is sure to be doubly difficult to sell. Nevertheless, we’ve established that training is tremendously useful when put into practice so we MUST find a way to make topics interesting.

Content that is interactive, engaging and with elements of gamification makes it easier for managers to participate. Try to find training that keeps them “on their toes” and comes in short bursts. Experts say that 15-20 minutes is the best length. Remember, just say no to day-long training. Most busy managers don’t have time for that anyway. Plus, this helps with hurdle #2, if they can get right back into work and put their skills into practice, great!

Training Hurdle 4: I’m too busy!

This is one hurdle that can feel more difficult to overcome. After all, most of your managers ARE likely already working at their…you know…job. This is one of the reasons that cross country training workshops have declined in popularity in recent years. Now that virtual, interactive training programs exist, it’s far simpler to squeeze in a 15-20 minute session from the workplace.

Just because it’s easier doesn’t mean it will get done though! Training programs that boast high completion rates often also include tips on carving out time to take the modules AND ensure that the information is useful and actionable.

Training your managers doesn’t have to be exhausting, boring or expensive. Do you face any of these hurdles when introducing training initiatives at your company? Which hurdles did I forget?

The ROI of Investing in Employees

When an organization invests in their employees, it shows. As a talent management and training software company, we have virtually (pun intended) built an entire company on this premise. Investing in employees is always a smart business move. Employees are the backbone of the company’s success, why wouldn’t leadership pay into that? Well they might not know a few important things mentioned in this infographic our friends ROEI.com and Sage.

We gain great insight on the power of investing in your employees in, “Return on Employee Investment Explained.” As the driving force of any organization’s success, it’s no surprise that making investments in employees is necessary, but it might be surprising just how beneficial they can be to the entire organization, and how cost effective they can be.

We all know the importance of implementing a strategic approach to talent management for driving success, but the return on investment is probably more than you would expect. Companies that take a strategic approach to talent management see:

  • 40% lower turnover
  • 2X the revenue per employee
  • 38% higher engagement

There is a flip side to the equation. When employers fail to invest in employees, it can have a severe negative impact on the bottom line, workplace morale and the employer brand. Lack of investments in your workforce can end up costing much more than those investments would have. For instance:

  • The cost of replacing one employee can cost anywhere from 30-400% of their annual salary.
  • The cost of replacing one person making $17 per hour is $10,500.

We also learn just how affordable the investments that can combat the aforementioned costs can be.

  • Every $1 investment in employees can yield a $10 profit.

Strategic and effective talent management systems along with the right training software are two great ways to make a relevant investment in employees. When employees feel valued, it shows in their work, and transversely the success of the company. Investing in employees is also a great way to facilitate the creation of brand ambassadors. The benefits never end. Smart investments in employees will always yield great things for the organization. 

Return On Employee Investment infographic

The Worst Thing That Can Happen to Training

bigstock Young businesswoman holding wh 50589017Managers.

That’s right, managers. If your training programs don’t have quality and comprehensive information that compounds upon your investment in your management team, well…it probably won’t work!

Why? Because managers directly affect the people around them (at least they should) so if they can’t or won’t participate in learning valuable techniques and improvements, it will have a trickle down effect on your employees.

It can also thwart upward growth. If you have an amazing staff and a killer training management process, it will still suffer from a poor or disengaged leader. Study after study has shown that people don’t leave jobs, companies or roles. Who do they leave? Say it with me folks, MANAGERS!

Conversely, a great leader or manager can do great things with substandard people and processes, because they’ve learned the right way to do things and perfected that mix over time. Like a rolling stone, they gain serious momentum, not only with their team (which will suffer less turnover than the manager’s less effective counterparts) but in their own professional journey.

For the organization sponsoring the training this has a cumulative effect. You not only have a well-trained and constantly improving manager but his or her effect on the team is immediate and improves productivity down the line. This creates value throughout the company and significant ROI for any LMS or training management.

What Managers Need:

In order to take advantage of this phenomenon (again, that can affect the WHOLE company) here’s a quick checklist:

Quality training: This should go without saying, but the training has to be relevant to your industry, company, and learning styles that are the most common. Many LMS programs contain multimedia channels, social support and customized dashboard to encourage completion.

Consistent training: The days of one week workshops are long gone (thank GOODNESS!) and are instead being replaced on-demand, cloud based solutions that fit into a busy manager’s day. However, you will shoot consistency in the foot not allowing your managing team TIME to finish these things.

Intuitive training: If a system is difficult to use, requires umpteen plugins, four downloads and more, then it’s the modern day equivalent of using the old training manual as a doorstop. It won’t get used, it won’t change anything and people might trip on it.

Well-thought out training: If you are purchasing a training module simply to check a box, or grabbing it as an add on to the ATS you are already unhappy with, then you are definitely doing it wrong. Fortunately, most HR professionals are genuinely looking for solutions that will serve their employees, not frustrate them. So don’t just look over the curriculum, look over the service provider, the contract, the fine print and the technology to truly deliver training that your management team can get behind.

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epiclectic via

Rand Fishkin Schools Us on Company Culture

bigstock happy young man 41848813 (2)Rand Fishkin, CEO of SEOmoz gives it to us straight in his post, “What Company Culture IS and IS NOT.” There are thousands of articles, posts, chats and updates having recruiters and hiring managers in a mental tug of war over hiring for attitude and cultural fit, or hiring for skill and experience. Fishkin contends that we might not even know what hiring for cultural fit means, and I would say that his stance is quite valid.

We seem to be confusing things like business lunches and white elephant gift exchanges for actual company culture. The hype around building a culture has led to a sad dilution of what could be a great thing. Hosting a company picnic is a far cry from the definition of cultivating company culture, and a surprising amount of employers might be taken back this fact. A lot of companies might be getting it wrong. There is a difference between workplace environments and company culture.

Glassdoor recently collected some data on the most popular questions asked hiring managers. They collected about 285,000 questions and captured the top four questions asked during organizational interviews. Not surprisingly, none of these top four questions had anything to do with skills or experience.

  • What’s your favorite movie?
  • What’s your favorite website?
  • What’s the last book you read for fun?
  • What makes you uncomfortable?

Fishkin warns against using these such questions for determining cultural fit. He said,

“I’m scared that this is how the emerging conversation around company culture and finding cultural fits for startups and teams is being portrayed. If this mentality sinks in, and if this is the “brand” that culture develops outside the echo chamber of tech startups, we’re all going to suffer for it.”

There is obvious value in cultivating a positive company culture, but most of us don’t know how to do it, or worse -we don’t even know that we don’t know!

Now that we know what company culture isn’t, Fishkin gives us some insights on what company culture means to him.


Starting at the top, company values are best determined taking a look at the precedents already set company leaders. Having the company values written down on a plaque somewhere near the front of the building is nice, but values are determined both actions and goals. Fishkin says,

“If you’re trying to figure out what a company’s values really are, look at the decisions management makes when lots of money, risk, or loss of face for executives is at odds with the stated values.”

Mission and Vision

Determining the company’s mission and vision will again boil down to how actions have measured up to promises. Has this company lived up to the expectations that they have set for themselves? Fishkin said,

“Want to know the company’s mission & vision? Look at what they’ve intentionally chosen not to do, even though it could be lucrative.”

Hiring Firing and Promotions

Getting real about these things can help to define the culture as it really is, not just how we would like it to be. Fishkin encourages us to take a look at:

  • Why we decide to bring people onto the team
  • Why we decide to fire those people
  • The reasons that we promote people

A lot of misleading notions and opinions on company culture have distorted our collective view on the matter. What some are calling a rant, we believe to be a welcome refresher course on what company culture actually is. Many of us have simplified company culture down to a casual Friday, and that is a waste of a very effective tool in business. Here is a complete look at Rand’s “rant”.

A Lesson in Lessons

small 3741570565Here at Visibility Software, we’re all about making processes simple. We create the best technology so that companies can teach and learn in the fastest most efficient way, but we do know that it doesn’t start and stop with good tech. There is a human side to this equation. Even the best training management software is better when management knows how to lead their team through it. An article recently featured on Inc. gives us some great tips on how to teach anyone anything. We’ve taken these tips and added how they pertain to your LMS.

Create a Clear Curriculum

Have you ever gone for a run with someone on a path that you are unfamiliar with? You don’t know how long this run will be, how many hills you’ll encounter or where you’ll go. That run sucks. You don’t know how to pace yourself. Unguided training is the same way.

In any leadership position, in any situation, it is best to start with a plan. Although software does a lot of this curriculum planning for management, it is important for leaders to tailor their learning programs with clear objectives and milestones. Out of the box LMSs are fine and dandy, but outlining the process that leaderships wants to share starts with personalized, structured content. This can also include simple insights into the learning program such as the amount of time that is expected of employees or what to expect as they go through, step step.

Make the Material Matter

I’m not sure what’s worse, no learning material, or crappy learning material. As far as learning management software or programs go, it is important to go with the provider that offered regular updates, great support and user-friendly technology. Additionally, management should go with the services and software that can be tailored for specific needs. As management goes through the training, they should be constantly assessing what it lacks and what is just clutter. Refining the materials makes for a smoother training program.

Present with a Purpose and Passion

All too often, management makes the investment in training, and then poof, they’re gone. If management isn’t excited about training, odds are the team won’t be either. If training is presented as a chore that we all must get through, that is all that will happen –they will just get through it. If training is presented with purpose and passion, it can make a lot of difference in engagement and retention. If management doesn’t care about training, neither will anyone else.

Reinforce with Repetition and Response

Post training is just as important as training itself. This is point at which management can assess how the training was received, if the information was retained and if that information was found relevant. Additionally, it is management’s job to ensure that the employee’s environment is conducive to the implementation of the new knowledge and skills gained during training. You know what they say, “Use it or lose it”, it’s true! According to the American Society for Training and Development. But with little practical follow-up or meaningful assessments, some 90% of new skills are lost within a year, some research suggests.”

For the money and time that employers spend on training, it’s worth it to be part of the process. When employees see that management is engaged and excited, that emotional contagion will catch on, rendering the process more valuable. 

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mrehan via

The Sourcing/Recruiting Mesh

small 4554851174If you’re in this industry you’ve probably been asked a dozen times what the difference is between a sourcer and a recruiter. If you’re like me, and have been in this business for quite some time, that answer has become a whole lot blurrier lately. Traditional sourcing and recruiting roles have started to overlap, and there are different sets of expectations for each.

As a marketing professional in the HR niche, I have witnessed the evolution of the sourcing/recruiting mesh over the last decade. The old-school job of a sourcer was to comb through resumes, databases, rolodexes and applicant tracking systems to find those keywords that fit the client’s needs. Once these matches were established, those relevant resumes were then passed on to the sourcers partner in crime, the recruiter. These traditional sourcers didn’t make the calls. They didn’t recruit. Makes sense right? Recruiters recruit.

As I have watched the evolution of sourcers they have slowly started taking on the next steps of the hiring process. In addition to sourcing, they are now usually in charge of reaching out to the prospect. Sourcers are expected to engage with prospects more and more. Sourcers don’t only gauge interest, they are often expected to peak interest, conduct first-round screening and even prepare a submission for the recruiter before passing the contact on to them.

Sourcers are starting to sound like recruiters. So then what are recruiters doing? As sourcers have taken over some of the traditional roles of recruiters, recruiters are now taking on the responsibility of internal candidate movement and client management, which were traditionally not part of the recruiting role. Even the word “recruiting” excludes internal movement from the recruiter’s repertoire. How can someone who is already with the company be recruited? It’s all part of the evolution of our industry.

The roles haven’t changed across the board though. According to Amybeth Hale, a recruiting professional, “The only place where I think recruiting has remained more focused on actual recruiting activities is in the agency setting. Those folks still know how to smile-and-dial and vigorously pursue non-active prospects.”

For those of us who have been in the industry for a while now, we have learned to evolve and take on different roles. For those coming into the industry, it can be a little more involved. There are big differences between sourcing today and what traditional sourcing involves. There are also big differences between what is expected of an agency recruiter and non-agency recruiters.

As tech and social media make everyone more visible through each virtual footprint we make, the traditional roles of sourcers have changed. As the first step in the hiring process, this changes all of the rest that follow, namely recruiting.

photo credit: opensourceway via photopin cc

Practical and Personal Ways to Increase Workplace Productivity

small  7879731146Do you ever look at that friend of yours who has accomplished more before noon than you got done all week, and after loathing them, wonder how they do it? We’re all given the same amount of hours in a day and we all need to sleep, so what makes some of us super heroes, while the rest of us are wondering where the day went? As their capes wisp past your desk, watch and learn. They’re probably doing a lot of these things.

Create Prioritized Lists

All right, so this is pretty common sense, but often forgotten. How many times a day do you think, “I have to remember to do ____” or “I’ll definitely return that email later”, and it never gets done. Write it down in order of importance, even the small things. It is often the small things that fall through the cracks and create bottlenecks of work. I prefer to use “Notes” on my iPhone, which sync to my iPad and MacBook. No matter where I am or what device I have, my to-do list is a touch away. Each check is a small victory leading to a stress-free 5:00.

Get Your Time-Wasters In Check

First off, write them down. Write down all the things that you let distract you when you’re supposed be getting work done. Consider how much time you waste on them. Then consider how often you complain about not having enough time. Log out of social networks or sites that lead to wandering off task. It is a much different action, typing in a user name and password than simply clicking on a tab. The red dot is less alluring when it’s not there.

Get Checking, In Check

It has been proven that email is actually a huge time waster at work. The average employee checks their email an astonishing 36 times/hour. That is just ridiculous. Yes, email is an important communication tool, but it doesn’t need to be scanned every two minutes (No offense, but you’re probably not that important, no one is!). Checking your email less frequently keeps your mind on the task at hand. When you don’t have to refocus every couple of minutes, more work gets done faster.

Take Care of Yourself

Have you ever noticed that “sluggish” is often a term that translates both to aesthetics as well as attitude? The more energy you have, the more work you can accomplish. I can’t even write, “Get 8 hours of sleep every night” with a straight face. For most of us, additional sleep isn’t an option, but more water, better eating choices and more activity are. Ever wonder why the P90X expert/triathalon pro of the office is always the overachiever? It’s annoying, but it’s true.


Just do it already! At the end of the day, this is your time that you’re wasting. If the task doesn’t get done at work, you’re most likely going to take it home. As you stare down the computer and contemplate another trip to the water cooler, just start. Much like the gym or cleaning, getting started is the hardest part. A very helpful trick I learned is to make a deal with yourself about the start of a project. Tell yourself that if you just get it started, whether that means an outline, a first paragraph or even a half hour of work, you get a break. Quite often I’ll skip the break and just keep going. Sometimes I take the break, but getting going again is much easier now that I have an intro into the project or task.

It was very surprising to me to learn that less than 60% of the average employee’s work time is actually spent productively. If you do the math for a 40-hour workweek, that equates to about 24 hours/week wasted. That’s your life! That’s your work! Get better at doing it

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JD Hancock via

Why Your Training Program Probably Sucks

small 2191404675Training is supposed to boost morale, increase productivity and facilitate engagement. Each of these qualities betters the company and the employee alike, but that’s what training is supposed to do. All too often, an ineffective training program ends up being a waste of time and resources.

Companies dump a lot of effort into their training programs, and a lot of them are seeing a pretty poor return on their investment. A recent WSJ post on the matter of corporate training issues reports that, “U.S. firms spent about $156 billion on employee learning in 2011, the most recent data available, according to the American Society for Training and Development. But with little practical follow-up or meaningful assessments, some 90% of new skills are lost within a year, some research suggests.”

How do you make sure that your training dollars aren’t going to waste? There are a lot of how-to guides on improving and implementing training programs, but if there are already some counterproductive practices going on, who’s to say they won’t continue. Being aware of what makes a training program, is just as important as knowing what breaks one. Here are a few things to look out for in your training program.

You Don’t Have Clearly Define Training Needs

Even the best training program means squat if they aren’t training for the right people for the right things. Training program leaders should make a conscious effort to align training with industry trends and needs. This actually starts with hiring and then trickles down to training. Consider supply and demand when structuring the training programs. It should be defined who needs training and in what areas. This can be determined through employee surveys and training-needs analysis.

As businesses and employees grow, responsibilities grow and shift. Much of these new or different tasks can be mastered through informal learning, but formal training is needed refine processes and ensure compliance and consistency.

Your Aren’t Measuring Effectiveness

The employees have all gone through training and they thoroughly enjoyed themselves. What a lot of companies don’t know is that there is actually a very weak correlation between an employee’s reaction to training and actual learning. You cannot improve upon something that isn’t measured.

After training is complete, the only questions shouldn’t be about whether or not the employee enjoyed their time in training, or even how effective the training was. Actual testing needs to be done to see if real learning took place. Everyone was happy with the catered lunch and the break from the office, but did they take anything away from this huge expense to the company? That is what should be measured.

Technology Doesn’t Trump Bad Management

As a software company, we hate to say it, but technology won’t solve all of your training woes. Yes, gamification, cloud-based programs and streamlined processes are fantastic, but they won’t outweigh current bad practices. According to training expert Eduardo Salas, “A, simulation itself isn’t enough. You also need very clear and precise learning objectives, clear feedback, a form of measurement or assessment and regular opportunities to practice and get feedback.”

Additionally, managers need to set the tone and create an environment conducive to training. The team should be ready for the training and have the proper prerequisite knowledge. Then, after the training is complete, managers should set the proper conditions for these employees to continue their jobs. This means making sure that employees have the right tools and opportunities to apply their newly acquired knowledge and skills. As we learned earlier, some 90% of new skills are lost within a year. Use it or lose it!

The dos and don’ts of training are plentiful. A push toward a more metrics driven and thoughtful program can make a big difference on the ROI of training. Training isn’t just something on a checklist to get rid of, it should be considered a powerful tool that requires insight and knowledge.


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striatic via

I Hate My Job

small  3705956541In a recent study done Dale Carnegie Training we learned that 26% of the national workforce is “disengaged” and 29% are “fully engaged”. That then means that about ¾ of employees are not fully engaged. When the fact remains that research consistently correlates low employee engagement with poor performance, this equals a big problem for businesses. According to a Taleo Research project, it has been found that employees who are highly engaged are 2X more likely to be top performers.

So we get it, employee engagement does great things for an organization and disengaged employees can end up costing the organization in a big way. How do leaders prevent the “I hate my job” epidemic?

In a Forbes article on the topic, we learn that the number one factor influencing employee engagement was the employees’ relationship with their immediate supervisors. It’s pretty logical that factors influencing employee engagement start at the top and trickle down. Employers have spent countless dollars on finding out what makes their workers tick, and it turns out they’re it, they themselves are the difference.

Here are some ideas from the leaders in employee engagement. These are some ways to improve employer-manager relationships, which is the driving factor in engagement at work.

DHL Does It Through Recognition and Appreciation

DHL Express was actually awarded for their employee appreciation programs. At the Executive Recognition Summit, DHL was chosen over several other companies for the implementation of their employee engagement and recognition programs with an emphasis on customer-focused culture.

DHL put a lot of money and focus on raising their employee engagement scores in plants and offices around the nation. With the national average of engaged employees at 29%, DHL strives for the goal of scores in the top quartile. They found that placing emphasis on thanking employees for their work actually works! Who would have thought? Their gratitude is shown through monetary rewards, annual events with awards for top performers or even simple notes of appreciation.

SAP Does it Articulating the “Why”

When we were young and our parents told us to do something –anything really, we would ask, “Why?” We eventually learn to stop asking why, but that curiosity never really goes away, and SAP gets that. Employees need to see the big picture and their purpose within that picture in order to get and stay engaged. In a post from SAP on employee engagement, Vala Afshar says, “Employees are engaged when they understand the purpose behind direction and destination. Share with employees where you’re going and why.”

Southwest Airlines Does it Living the Brand

The Southwest brand is one of the most recognizable around. Customers know exactly what they’ll see, get and experience when they do business with Southwest, and perhaps more importantly, so do their employees. Forbes contributor on global talent management issues, Sylvia Vorhauser-Smith says, “A strong employment brand that offers clarity on the organization culture and what it stands for ensures that the right people are attracted to the organization and the wrong people apply elsewhere.

These are just a few of the successful practices from employee engagement leaders. Organizations have so many options to get employees engaged like ongoing training, career path development and social interactions outside of work. The following is a quote that sums up our feelings pretty well on the topic of employee engagement from Don Seidman.

frequency of lunches, performance reviews, volunteer program outings and team-building exercises does not produce higher levels of employee engagement. Employee engagement is determined the 
quality and meaningfulness of these interactions, and the journey managers are enlisting their employees to engage in.” photo credit:
faith goble via

Throw ‘em into the Lion’s Den or Coddle Them?

small_3222146311The age-old debate about onboarding new or newly transitioned employees. Is the sink or swim method best, or should you hold their hand through the learning process? We aren’t all natural-born leaders and we don’t always know which route, or combination thereof to take when it comes to training. The end goal is to build a productive, cohesive and engaged team. So what training and management methods will get you there?

While there is no secret recipe, there are some tried and true practices for getting your new team members where they need to be in a timely manner.

Pardon our language but we love this phrase, “Google That Stuff”. We all have those people in our lives, the ones who constantly ask us questions that they could surely Google. This happens a lot in the workplace. Instead of learning lessons for themselves, employees will hop over to someone else’s desk and use up their time to explain or teach them something. It goes without saying that mentorship and proper training should be made available to new recruits, but it is often unclear where to draw the line.
When someone needs help, a lot of us have the tendency to jump right in to the rescue. This knee-jerk reaction can actually end up inhibiting the self-sufficiency of those around us. Don’t be afraid to say, “Google That Stuff”.
Make Expectations Clear
A major onboarding and training problem that can lead to delayed productivity is when management is unclear about their expectations. There is a big difference between holding their hand through the onboarding process and leading them through the onboarding process. Chucking a handbook and a training log in at them does not a happy new employee make. There should be a clear and defined onboarding and training strategy of which the manager should be a major part.
Being New is no Excuse for Subpar Work
63% of bad hires can be attributed to the employees failure to produce the proper quality of work. Yes, there will be a learning curve and adjustment period. A couple of other leading factors of the common bad hire are failure to meet deadlines and immediate attendance problems. These are all vital areas in which to set the bar high. It is because they’re new that they should try harder, never be late and turn things in early incase there is more work to be done. Being new shouldn’t be framed as an excuse, it should be presented as a driving factor.
With most anything, a good balance is needed in the onboarding process. Making sure that employees can stand on their own two feet, while facilitating growth and engagement means knowing when to step in and when to step back.