Better, Faster, Stronger Hiring Needed in a Tight Labor Market

The talent shortage is a pressing concern for organizations and business leaders, and the situation is unlikely to ease anytime soon. How can companies emerge victorious in the war for talent?

This kind of hiring environment calls for a revamp of the hiring process, according to Gary Burnison, CEO of executive search firm Korn Ferry.

“A tight labor market continually raises the stakes for employers. The advantage is clearly more towards the employee,” Burnison told Bloomberg Law.

Not only is it becoming more difficult to find talent to hire, but wages are also on the rise, according to surveys such as the Trendsetter Barometer from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

“We’ve seen a steady improvement in the economy. It seems that companies are opening up their wallets to support the expectations on the hiring front,” said Ken Esch, Private Company Services, Trendsetter Barometer Leader at PwC.

Economic growth has created jobs for most of the people in the labor pool, Esch told Bloomberg Law. “We soaked up all those jobs that were lost. Now it’s about pulling people off the bench and into the labor pool,” he said.

Focusing on the Human Element

To counter the abundance of technology in today’s world, “we need our people to bring the human skills of creativity and thinking outside the box,” said Derek Irvine, vice president of Client Strategy and Consulting at employee recognition company Globoforce.

A recent survey from Globoforce and the Society for Human Resource Management found that a human-centered approach fared better in meeting recruiting and retention goals for organizations.

“Now, you bring your full self to work. There’s been a definite shift. Workplaces are for connecting and brain storming, and making workplaces more human allows people to bring their very best selves to work,” Irvine said.

Creative Approaches to Hiring

With unemployment rates as low as they are, the talent war has reached “a fever pitch,” said Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half. To adapt, organizations are altering their approaches to hiring, according to a Robert Half survey.

In some cases, employers might focus on “must-have” skills rather than those that are nice to have, and then revise a job description to include 75 percent or 80 percent of what it previously contained. “That’s the creativity we’re seeing now,” McDonald told Bloomberg Law.

Instead of seeking the mythological perfect candidate, companies are hiring people with potential and then providing them with the training to fit the job description, he added.

“Successful, savvy companies can fill their jobs; they look for a cultural fit and if that person has soft skills. They are training new hires as they come in, to give them what they need. Maybe they don’t know SAP or Oracle, but have the aptitude and they’re willing to learn,” he said.

Good Fit Is ‘Real Magic’

Workforce mobility has increased over the years, and because the expense associated with hiring new workers and getting them up to speed equals approximately three times annual compensation, it’s a trend that’s expensive for employers, said Korn Ferry’s Burnison, who recently wrote a book about the job-search process.

“You need to try to hire differently. The real magic is finding people who will fit with your organization,” he said.

The resume is one source of information, but employers can also assess candidates using other tools, such as written tests and gamification. An interview is particularly valuable if done skillfully, with questions revealing how that person thinks. The added information beyond the resume provides a bigger picture of whether a candidate is right for the job, Burnison said.

Hire Slow, Hire Right

Even with a pressing need for talent, organizations should not rush the process, according to Dave Ramsey, a best-selling author on financial issues, radio host of The Dave Ramsey Show, and founder of Ramsey Solutions.

“Because if you’re not careful, you’ll be filling that same job six months later. You have to be willing to wait for the right person—one who shares your values, work ethic, and the company’s mission. You don’t want employees; you want team members. And the process of adding team members requires you to slow down the hiring process,” Ramsey told Bloomberg Law.

Companies need to define the position in detail and what winning traits they want, he added. “What are the key touchstones that will make you, the leader, thrilled you hired them? We’ve learned from our mistakes in this area. We’ve hired people in the past who quit when they came on board after discovering what the job really was. Don’t do that,” Ramsey said.

It’s counter intuitive, but it actually takes less time to go through a lengthy hiring process than it does to rehire the position three times because you rushed your hiring, he added. “Twenty-five years in business has taught us that the person hired properly, and slowly, performs better and is more likely to stay,” Ramsey said.


Why your company needs a CHRO

What’s the biggest HR mistake you can make? Not hiring a chief human resources officer. Here’s what to look for in filling this key workplace culture leadership role.

Uber. Binary Capital. Google. SoFi. These are just four high-profile HR disasters that devastated victims of harassment and negatively impacted each company’s brand, morale, engagement, and ability to attract and retain talent.

While responsibility for the atrocious behavior behind these headlines lies with the perpetrators and those who enabled, facilitated and covered up these toxic incidents and hostile workplace cultures, a more strategic, better empowered HR department with C-suite representation could have helped. But according to research from HR software technology firm Namely, of 1,000 midsize organizations surveyed, only 7 percent have an HR executive in the C-suite.

The importance of HR has increased dramatically in the past few years, as talent has become a No. 1 priority and one of a company’s most important assets, says Straz, Namely’s CEO.

“For decades, business leaders have considered HR an administrative or compliance function. Far too many people think that HR is simply ‘the complaint department,’” says Straz.

Many senior executives don’t value HR leadership as much as other C-level roles, or they see it as a need only when a company reaches a certain size or complexity, says Charlie Gray, CEO and founder of Gray Scalable, a custom HR technology solutions company. Or when HR disasters happen.

“Companies will instead have an HR director or VP that reports to their CFO, or COO, who would be responsible for driving people planning strategically, even though this complicates and often conflicts with their key responsibilities,” Gray says. “They often view HR responsibilities through a tactical lens — understanding that things like payroll, benefits, skills training and basic performance process are needed, but don’t always recognize the high-level strategic value of leadership development, people analytics, organizational planning and the other ways that the right HR leadership can provide game-changing contributions to a business.”

The CHRO role

A chief HR officer (CHRO) or a chief people officer (CPO) is a C-level leader who oversees human resources management, sets the agenda for workplace culture, provides an appropriate emphasis on employee experience, and allows organizations to approach HR from a more strategic, long-term perspective, Straz says.

“Between managing compliance, performance, benefits, and payroll, most HR teams don’t have the time or resources to focus on the bigger picture,” Straz says. While technology can play a role in saving HR administrators time in handling these tasks, a C-level HR leader gives the company someone truly accountable for the well-being, development and professional success of the company’s people, at all levels, says Gray, and that’s a critical element of almost any successful business.

“It also gives a voice to the employee population in the C-suite, so that the company’s decisions can be weighed carefully against their likely impact on various teams or high-value talent,” Gray says. “It should also help to foster real communications within the organization so the company benefits from the collective wisdom of its people. The HR leaders will often need to interact as a true peer with the company’s CFO or revenue leadership, who may be primarily focused on cost or short-term benefits, while the CHRO/CPO can provide balance in considering real value versus cost as well as long-term success.”

The CHRO’s impact on process and policy

The tactical, day-to-day administrative work of HR matters greatly. HR develops, implements and enforces the company’s talent strategy based on the organization’s values, and sets policies and processes for hiring, mentoring, developing, rewarding and promoting talent that are fair, equitable and unbiased, says Radoslaw Nowak, assistant professor of HR management and labor relations at New York Institute of Technology.

“The objective of HR is to improve the quality of managerial decision-making at all organizational levels,” he says, and to do so objectively. “So, when managers make important decisions regarding employment, they hire, promote, mentor, develop, and reward the best qualified candidates or employees for each job. HR creates clear processes that will ‘control’ any potential for managerial prejudice and/or bias. For example, to promote any employee, the following set of criteria must be met; these criteria are A, B, C, D,” Nowak says. This structure can effectively limit the likelihood that a manager can discriminate, at least overtly, if candidates have met the established criteria, he says.

When processes start at the highest levels, they are perceived by employees as fair and inclusive, resulting in higher employee engagement, motivation, job satisfaction, retention and performance, says Nowak.

“Unfortunately, as human beings we are biased,” Nowak says. “While HR aims to create a system that will give everybody the same opportunity to succeed, in practice, there are many cultural and structural barriers in society that still favor majority candidates, thus lowering chances for women and minorities.”

With a CHRO on board, these issues find a seat at the board room table, with a C-level officer ultimately accountable for addressing equity in the workplace.

The CHRO’s diversity mandate

A CHRO or a CPO role goes hand-in-hand with the growing attention around issues such as diversity, pay equity and harassment, says Straz.

Gray agrees that an HR leader in the C-suite emphasizes a company’s commitment to diversity from a tactical as well as a strategic perspective. “They’re generally the most likely to escalate, build and manage diversity initiatives. Since they are responsible for hiring strategy and operations as well as employee development, they are also best situated to drive this forward,” he says.

Because these issues have a direct impact on workplace culture, which can make or break your business, it’s important that their prioritization comes from the top, Straz says, adding that it’s never too early to prioritize diversity and inclusion, regardless of how big or small a company is.

“I think teams are starting to prioritize diversity and inclusion earlier, even before hitting the thousand-employee mark. At less than half that size, Namely has a diversity team,” he says. “While that initiative is now led by volunteers across all departments, it was our chief people officer and internal HR team who sparked it.”

What to look for in a CHRO

When looking to hire a CHRO or a CPO, there are skills, knowledge and experience to look for, though each organization will have needs that are unique to their culture and workforce. A CHRO must have prior business experience, says Nowak, and formal HR training.

“For example, here at NYIT, our graduate HRM students learn about all key aspects of business, people management, and legal considerations,” he says. “This prepares our students to become business partners, to be able to identify key organizational problems, and offer solutions that will result in better firm performance.”

When Straz was looking to hire a CHRO at Namely, he and his fellow executives needed a seasoned veteran who’d served in a number of different roles, from business partner to senior director, Straz says.

“I think the best CHROs bring a broad range of skills and experiences to the table,” he says. “Keep in mind that while CHRO is a strategic role, practical matters like compliance and payroll processing still matter. It sounds counter-intuitive, but you need someone who understands foundational HR so you’re not held back from pursuing strategy and a more aspirational direction. It’s also essential that a modern CHRO is data-minded. A successful CHRO should understand how to effectively gather data, how to craft strategy based on that data, and then measure the success of initiatives. Data is a critical skill for every executive who has a seat at the table, and this is just as true for CHROs as it is for CFOs or CMOs.”

CHROs must be able to implement sometimes unpopular policies and drive organizational change, making strong leadership skills a must. In addition, openness to change, flexibility and strong communication skills are important, as CHROs must articulate and “sell” their vision of how the company should operate to other executives, Nowak says.

But a good CHRO doesn’t have to be an expert at everything, says Gray. As with all executive functions, leadership, collaboration, communication and knowing how and when to delegate responsibility is key.

“There are many important responsibilities within a complete HR function, and you shouldn’t expect a leader to be expert at all of them,” he says.  “They will hire people who specialize in benefits administration, for example, or compensation, or recruiting. They should have a solid understanding of all other key areas, but not necessarily an extensive background.”

The critical criteria are communications, strategic planning, executive coaching and partnership, and a strong cultural fit for the organization, Gray says.

Who should a CHRO report to?

A CHRO or CPO should report directly to the CEO — or the COO, but under no circumstances should a CHRO report to the CFO; their organizational priorities are often in direct strategic conflict, says Gray.

“The best option is to report to the CEO, for tactical governance purposes, and to ensure they also have a responsibility directly to the Board of Directors for compensation and planning purposes, but also in case there are conflicts or legal issues with the CEO,” Gray says. “A CHRO should never report to the CFO; most senior HR people will not accept that scenario, as the two roles are often in strategic conflict, and HR becomes a non-strategic function if it reports to the head of finance.”

Very often, the “HR vision” of how a firm should operate requires greater financial investment, is longer-term and more strategic than the short-term, “We need to cut costs and show better financial results right now” focus on the CFO, he says, resulting in possible power struggles.

“CHROs’ access to the CEO is absolutely critical. Furthermore, their ability to ‘sell’ the HR vision to top executives by showing how investments into HR processes can pay off in the future is even more critical,” says Nowak.

Focusing an organization’s priorities on talent and making it a great place to work is always a sound investment, and by hiring a CHRO or a CPO, you’re signaling to your competitors and to your current and potential employees that you truly care about people, engagement, morale and culture.

“Through my own career and in working with our thousand-plus partner companies, I realized HR wasn’t just another department. In a sense, it’s the heart and soul of the company. If you get HR right, you get culture right. It’s an extension of everything good that happens within the company,” Straz says.

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Embracing Technology For HR Innovation

Leading organizations around the world consider people as the central focus of their growth strategy. With the rise of affordable and accessible communication technology, and consumers who are spoilt for choices, our work environment has changed tremendously over the last few years. Therefore, the legacy ways of managing human resources have to make way for some innovation. The HR leaders have to move away from specialist roles to wear multiple hats. This means unlearning some old professional habits and gaining some new competencies. Here is how HR can be the change leader for a new age business:

New Lens

Rather than having a mechanical approach towards typical HR functions like recruitment, payroll management, appraisals, conflict management, and employee retention etc., HR needs to use a new lens to look at the business. This lens will allow the HR leaders to bring Customer Orientation, Delivery Excellence, Innovation, Business Acumen, Emotional Quotient, Technical and Analytical Skills into their vision as well as day-to-day operations.

Apart from developing the above competencies, it is also important to manage HR in a more Agile way, i.e., aligning HR operations based on business needs and seeking regular feedback from all stakeholders. In other words, HR leaders need to become enablers and not merely administrators.

Leverage Technology

Technology has disrupted every facet of business. HR management is no exception. There are several iterative HR activities that can be automated for better accuracy, cost reduction, or simply to enhance the user experience throughout their journey.

For instance, technologies such as artificial intelligence, chatbots, machine learning, and data analytics have been picking steam. While these are currently being used for basic use cases, possibilities are endless. These technologies are not only helping in automating certain processes, but also uncovering insights for HR problem solving and better decision making. As a result, the conversations between HR and employees has become more engaging and meaningful; leading to higher productivity.

Technology also empowers HR leaders with a lot of measurability, something that they always missed. With big data analytics capabilities, performance measurement and management becomes much more rational.  With IoT becoming the next big tech-leap, HR has the opportunity to connect with employees using multiple devices/platforms, and make communication more seamless and transparent.

Communicate Differently

The new age workplaces are receiving more and more millennials every day. Their expectations from the workplace are completely different from what Gen X had. An important expectation is transparency and openness in work environment. Thus, it requires an increased focus by businesses to enhance engagement levels.

The key to manage this expectation is communication and it is never enough. Be it townhalls, hackathons, periodic newsletters, a webinar, or collaboration over social media, everything counts when it comes to engaging with millennials.

The HR leaders need to be careful while selecting the right platform for communication with new age employees. There should be a balance between too formal platforms like emails and a casual approach like Workplace.

Embrace the Change

Before embarking on the transformation journey, the HR leaders should realize that they will undergo a major change. This realization helps them to become more agile and embrace the changes they undertake.

Acquiring new competencies becomes easier when we believe that there is a dire need to do so. The HR leaders should try to leverage vulnerability, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity in the modern business environment rather than shying away from it.

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Preparing the next gen is an important aspect of succession planning: Douglas Shackelford

Succession planning takes time; firms plan it for multiple years after taking into account the vision for the company’s future, says Douglas Shackelford, 60, dean of University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. In an interview to Forbes India, the award-winning researcher and professor of taxes and business strategy speaks about the importance of clear communication in family-owned businesses and respecting their socio-emotional goals. Edited excerpts:

Q. What are the distinct advantages that family-owned companies have over others?
The advantages can include long-term orientation, strong family culture, agile decision-making, efficient leadership, strong customer and supplier relationships, and a deep commitment to the firm’s mission. Family businesses that have a clear, shared vision of the future can take complete benefit from these advantages and outperform their management-controlled counterparts.

Q. Family-owned companies are invariably in the news for reasons such as filial disputes, generational differences or corporate governance tiffs between founders, boards and management. What lies at the core of these problems?
Many conflicts that family firms face arise from a lack of open, transparent communication. Differences in perspective can create misunderstandings and conflict. Frequent, honest communication can help build trust.

Q. What is the ideal way of settling a dispute among stakeholders of a family-led business?
There is no one ideal way to settle a dispute, but in most instances, it is critical to take time to listen to the various points of view of each of the parties involved and understand the core of the conflict. Ideally, the parties should work together and take into account the differing views to arrive at a mutually satisfying conclusion—a “win-win” solution—rather than one in which only one party “wins”.

Q. Each family business has a unique culture of operations and values. How can an outside professional blend harmoniously into a family-owned management structure?
Non-family executives need to take time to understand the unique culture of the family and the firm with which they work. Often there are unwritten rules based on tradition and the family’s preferences that the outside professional will need to learn.

Families frequently have motivations that are not purely financial, and they will make decisions based on non-financial goals—often referred to as socio-emotional goals—such as preservation of family reputation, commitment to the community or a desire for multi-generational transfer. An outside professional who honours the firm’s unique culture and values is more likely to be successful.

Q. In an age of diverse opportunities, why do some businesses tend to remain single family firms, that is, stick to one business by integrating forward or backward? 
Some firms choose to invest in a particular field and not expand to other businesses. This type of focus can allow them to benefit from efficiency, deep expertise and long-term relationships with customers and suppliers.  However, firms need to be cognisant of the changes in the market that would make their current business or strategy obsolete or uncompetitive.

Q. What is the greatest challenge for a next-generation member trying to steer a traditional family business to a different course?
One of the primary challenges for next-generation leaders is balancing the tradition of the past with the innovation that is needed to succeed in the future. For instance, at UNC Kenan-Flagler’s Family Enterprise Center, we encourage young leaders to be students of their firm’s history and learn from the successes and failures of the leaders before them. They need to honour the firm’s culture and success, while looking ahead to strategic shifts that might need to occur as the industry changes or the firm matures.

Next-generation leaders face a set of challenges that are unique to family-owned businesses.

Q. What are the key areas that one needs to consider for succession planning, to ensure smooth transition of ownership and management at a family business?
Families need to recognise that succession planning is a process that takes time. Ideally, firms will plan over multiple years for both ownership and leadership succession.

Within the family and ownership group, it is important to address how, when, and how much ownership transfer will occur. As part of this planning, families need to consider applicable tax laws and the vision for the future of the family and the business. Shareholder agreements and meetings are important for bringing clarity and building trust and engagement.

Leadership succession of the business should be designed in light of the vision for the future of the firm. This will inform strategy and, in turn, the leadership that will be required. The key questions to consider include: How will the firm’s successor be identified? Who will decide that? What is the process and timeline for the transfer of power? How can the firm attract outside professionals to the leadership team? What role might the incumbent leader play in future? What organisational structures would be helpful?

An important aspect of succession planning is preparing the next generation. Next-generation leaders face a set of challenges unique to family-owned businesses. Not only must they meet the challenges of sustaining a successful business, but also negotiate the complexities of family and ownership systems that are integral components of family enterprises, often while living in the shadow of a successful entrepreneur who happens to be a father, mother or other close relative.

Research by UNC Kenan-Flagler Professor Stephen Miller has identified the factors that promote next-generation leader development. A key finding in his research shows that the degree to which next-generation leaders assume personal responsibility for their actions and decisions is strongly related to their display of emotional and social intelligence competencies, which, in turn, is the major driver of their leadership effectiveness. It is also strongly related to the degree to which they are held accountable by others, which positively affects their engagement with work in the family firm.

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Effective Knowledge Management


A flat structure in any organisation is a panacea that businesses focus on to empower them to create a culture of progression where their employees feel engaged and invested. However, the issue with this seemingly idyllic set-up is that for any successful organisation to make critical decisions and move forward, there is a natural need for hierarchy, leadership and key decision makers.  Managing by consensus is a fantastic goal as it means that the entire team naturally are engaged with the decision, as they feel they own it, but the truth is that in the sizeable majority of any business there will be a proportion of people that will ‘accept’ why the decision has been made, but it might not be their preference.

Thus, a company needs to differentiate between engagement and flat structures.  Flat structures are a natural consequence of an organisation where silos have been broken down and the staff, whichever area they work in day to day, have cross team conversations, where all parties view discussions and meetings between different areas as a chance to get positive input from different viewpoints.  The flat structure comes from team members having natural respect for each other and security in their knowledge, expertise and job role.

I am privileged that my daily role within the speaking industry offers the opportunity to get a chance to meet and listen to many amazing leaders from all kinds of industries and sectors. A common theme I hear, and one that has certainly contributed to my personal management style, is that acceptance of the knowledge that your success is driven by your team will yield better results and create a more positive working environment.  Admitting to yourself and your team that you do not have all the answers is a very powerful tool, rather than a show of weakness. Confessing this and taking this leap is a massive stepping stone for any successful leader. If your team support you and understand that this statement is not a show of weakness, then you know the people around you have your back and your company is ideally positioned to move forward with the right decisions made by the right people.

Too often knowledge sharing is achieved by companies publishing white papers or creating intranets, where each individual department can demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of their specific areas. While systems such as these give reassurance to the other teams within the organisation that each sub-division is comprised of experts in that field, to me, it is not the most effective process. These systems create a culture of passive listening, i.e. the ‘experts’ are always the ones providing the answers, rather than engaging everyone in the conversation. True knowledge sharing only comes where everyone is involved in the conversation and given the opportunity to challenge and question that status quo.

While I work in a sector where we focus on the impact of the keynote speech and its ability to change perceptions, challenge presumptions and encourage the formulation of new ideas, I would suggest that the term ‘keynote speech’ is a misnomer and should always be seen as the start of a conversation. The discussion after the keynote, the open exploration of ideas and the Q&A session is where the real value for all parties can be extracted and where the interesting ‘stuff’ emerges for both the individual and for the company.

This move away from a one-way stream of knowledge sharing to a two-way conversation will encourage a couple of side effects. Firstly, established assumptions or processes will be challenged as the unaware party (for want of a better name) will ask uninhibited questions with no agenda. Secondly, a realisation to both the individual as well as the wider company that the best conversation comes when people have diversity of experience and use this difference to draw solutions to the business problems they are facing.

Both realisations lead to the same conclusion that it is important for businesses to break traditional patterns of thought, in order to move forward and encourage diverse solutions to difficult problems. A company that has promoted this policy really well is Google, and how they actively engage and encourage their employees to use their 20% time – the idea is that you spend 20% of your time working on a project that is not directly aligned with your day to day job but a personal passion of the individual to explore primarily for their own benefit and in the longer term for the benefit of the company. This policy is a reminder that personal development outside of ‘work development’ is no longer a separate activity.  Dedicating time to exterior projects is becoming more valued as it is more and more commonly accepted that the best place to look for inspiration for your business is outside of the sector you are in. Giants such as Amazon, Netflix and John Lewis are setting the benchmark for service and innovation, so it is these organisations that you need to pitch yourself against.

So, giving people space, time and encouragement to do something for themselves can only help and inspire their allegiance and dedication to the company. This doesn’t mean they can’t be challenged about how they can relate their new skills to the company, but they should be asked to share their knowledge as it will foster a comfortable sense of knowledge sharing, breaking down traditional business silos. The final point I would like to touch on, which is absolutely critical, is the need for transparency. This impacts the culture of the business entirely. We live and work in a society where job satisfaction and personal life satisfaction are getting more and more intertwined, as such, a company needs to be open to an individual, not only by investing in them, but by making them aware of the type of company they are part of – through transparency. A company must build trust and security for its employees through a culture of openness and transparency. Businesses should be comfortable in sharing both in good times as well as difficult times. Ultimately, if a business is having issues, surely the best people to pull the company around are the team who can help guide the leadership and direction.

While within itself, transparency has massive positive impact for the culture of trust, it also doubles up as the starkest version of knowledge sharing within a business and thus will set a precedent to the rest of the business of the positive impact of a knowledge sharing culture, that all parties can get involved in.

We live in an age where the workplace and the individual’s engagement within it is increasingly more important to both the success of the company as well as the personal goals of the individual.  A business that embraces a culture of transparency as well as actively encouraging their team to expand their horizons can foster a culture where knowledge sharing is no longer a forced activity but rather a natural part of the conversation. If a company achieves this as part of their culture, they are creating an environment both the company and the individuals can prosper in.

These 6 Companies Have Some of the Best Possible Employee Benefits (Yes, They’re That Good)

Many people overlook the importance of a company’s benefits when searching for a new job. It’s easy to focus on the salary and title, but job seekers should remember that benefits make up about 30% of compensation. In fact, three-fourths of employees would stay with a company for their benefits package.

Intrigued? Inspired by Glassdoor’s recent feature, check out some of the incredible benefits these companies offer.

1. Fuze

As a global communications platform, Fuze prioritizes allowing teams to work anywhere and stay in touch with their software. Employees can work where they perform best, even if it means at home. Plus, the company offers unlimited vacation days!

2. Crowdtwist

This company specializes in loyalty marketing, so it’s no wonder that they keep employees loyal as well. Workers get unlimited vacation days, 100% paid medical coverage, catered lunches, and a month-long sabbatical after three years. Plus, it’s a dog-friendly office!

3. US Department of Veterans Affairs

It’s no surprise that military and government workers get top-notch benefits. Two to four weeks of paid leave and ten federal paid holidays adds up to generous vacation time. Employees may also receive professional education, life insurance, or even home loans. Their competitive pay and matching 401(k) are nothing to scoff at either.

4. Brunswick

Brunswick manufactures exercise and recreational products, which reflects in their company culture. Their “Be Your Best program” allows workers to earn redeemable points for completing their fitness goals. Standing and treadmill desks ensure that they are always active even when working. Plus, their gracious paid time off allows employees to relax after long periods of work and exercise.

5. Total Quality Logistics

Last year, TQL celebrated their 20th anniversary by holding a week-long party that included everything from skydiving to rock climbing. Their CEO even chose two workers to have a helicopter tour with him. Plus, the company offers 401(k), tuition assistance, and professional training programs.

6. Scripps Health

Since the company focuses on well-being, provides employees receive health care for themselves, their dependents, and even their pets. Workers also receive professional development opportunities, a generous retirement plan, financial wellness resources, and a flexible program to accommodate a work-life balance.

Awesome, right? Possible salt in the wound that they’re all hiring, too.

Is you need to subtly drop a hint to your boss that your company’s benefit game needs to be ‘upped’, feel free to casually press that ‘share’ button — it’s a win/win.

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Future of work is the biggest HR challenge: Deloitte’s Erica Volini

In a candid conversation with People Matters, Erica Volini, US Human Capital Leader, Deloitte LLP, talks about the rise of network of teams, the importance of sustainability in HR, the future of work, and the biggest challenges facing HR in the future


Erica Volini is the US Human Capital leader for Deloitte Consulting. In this role, she is responsible for the 4,000+ practitioners focused on helping organizations solve their most complex and pressing Human Capital issues. Throughout her 20 years of career, Erica has worked with leading organizations across multiple sectors and geographies and is a frequent speaker on how market trends are impacting the HR organization and profession as a whole. Within Deloitte, she serves as a member of Deloitte Consulting’s Management Committee and Board of Directors.

You have had an extensive experience in consulting and now you are involved in expanding Deloitte’s HR product portfolio. Tell us about how your career journey has evolved over the years.

I actually wanted to be a lawyer which is a far cry from the world of HR but the first consulting project I worked on was for a publishing company. This is when I realized the power of workforce in achieving the company’s value and strategy. At that time, HR outsourcing was really a big thing, and I spent my early years focused on helping organizations outsource their HR services. But it became clear that HR couldn’t just ship off their responsibilities to another vendor, and if they did, they weren’t going to be able to create the employee experience that they needed to attain the top talent. From there, I started getting into a lot of strategy work, helping HR functions develop their strategy and implement it. This is what has led me to where I am right now. In terms of products, although Deloitte will always be a services company, over time our clients were asking us to come up with pre-built solutions to accelerate what they are trying to do in the market. And so, it opened up the door for us to say to look at our IP and say “What if we took that IP and started to make it into solutions and products that we can offer to our clients to supplement our services?” Once we provide these services, how do we support them on an ongoing basis? So we just don’t develop a strategy but implement it. It’s about providing sustainable solutions to our clients that will help them to continue to evolve over time.

You have actively worked on digital transformation agendas. What according to you is at the core of digital transformation? What should HR leaders need to know before embarking on this journey?

The most important thing is to know that becoming digital is as much about the technology as it is about the change in the mindset. In order to become digital, you fundamentally have to change your culture and being digital could mean different things to companies but at its core, it means being more adaptable and flexible, driving increased collaboration, learning how to fail fast so that you can continue to innovate and a lot of the organizations don’t have it internalized in their DNA.

The role of HR is – One, understanding what your digital culture means on key attributes. Then figure out what areas you need to build. For example, if you need to build more collaboration, how are you going to promote collaboration? Should you change your organizational structure? Should you put it new technologies like social and collaboration tools that allow people to communicate across the matrix and that’s the role the HR should play in really driving that cultural change and helping to bring that digital mindset for the organization.

Deloitte’s human capital trends report talks about the rise of the “network of teams”. What is this concept of the network of teams and why does the future of work depend on it?

The network of teams at its core is about getting people together across various parts of the organization to work towards a single goal. It could be getting a product out the door, driving innovation or expanding to a new market. But the idea is that you are leveraging talent from all different parts of the hierarchy, and those individuals need to accomplish those goals.

Every company has different kinds of teams and we are finding that more work is getting done in teams. However, the challenge with the team-based culture is in finding the best leaders in those teams.  It is different from the traditional succession planning process because you are not necessarily moving up the hierarchy. So it becomes imperative to find out the natural leaders in the organization, who are at the center of most of the communication and who have an influence on others. It is about using such people to then create and driving those networks of teams that will help shift the culture.

In one of your blog posts, you mention that “Achieving success is one thing, but sustaining it–especially in our ever-evolving world – that’s quite another.” Please tell us what sustainable HR is all about?

Today’s world is being disrupted rapidly and that’s not going change. If we have learned anything, it is that the pace of change will continue to increase. When we talk about sustainability, it’s about how you understand the trends that are happening? How are you constantly evolving your processes and technology? Because technology solutions are changing every year and there are a number of new technologies and vendors each year.

So being sustainable could mean putting in places Collaboration-oriented architecture (COA) that constantly monitor the technology market to help you understand what new technologies are coming and how to make that selection. Being sustainable in HR could mean having an access to research that is providing you with real-time research data analytics to help you continue to evolve your process and programs. It means keeping a pulse on what your employees are thinking and feeling every day so you could understand whether preferences are changing or evolved or you are providing them accordingly. What CHROs need to understand is that you can’t constantly evolve if you are only looking at your four walls. You need to have the ecosystem that will tell you what is going in your external environment.

A Deloitte study reveals that about 90 percent of business leaders feel that the human resource function is struggling to keep up with technological process change. Do you think HR has fallen behind tech adoption?

I actually think it’s the opposite. I think HR was historically behind, but when you think about the adoption of Cloud services, HR was really the first function to migrate to the Cloud before finance or supply chain. What we find is that the HR organizations may have implemented technology but they haven’t quite figured out how to change their processes and people, and make sure that they are also changing alongside the technology. And that’s what’s really completes the transformation. It should be about transforming the way you do the work bringing design thinking in so that your processes are focused on unstable employee and your services figuring out what net new services to provide as technology comes in creative capacities.

What according to you is the most complex and pressing problem in terms of human capital management today?

The biggest issue is the future of work. It is the single biggest challenge from the human capital standpoint. I think there are two major factors impacting work — one is Automation whether that’s products, cognitive tech or AI; and the other part is the new talent models emerging with contingent labor. The future of work is really about figuring out how tasks can be done differently and then using that opportunity to think about how you can enhance the processes in a different way, so if you’re going to automate one task and you create capacity for the workforce to do other things, should they be focused on creating a better customer experience instead of doing a task where automation can really improve the efficiency? And once you create those new tasks, what type of people you need to execute those tasks? What skills and competencies do they need? How should they be structured?  How should they be rewarded? How should their performance be managed? How could you leverage new talent models like contracts, the gig economy, and the Cloud? So, it really starts to change and challenge all fundamentals of the way HR has set things up because now we are looking at all those things through a new lens, the future of the way work is getting done, so it’s incredibly exciting.

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Ten Skills Every Manager Needs — But 90% Of Managers Lack

Here are ten skills that every leader needs, but sadly most leaders don’t possess. Many leadership development programs don’t even touch on these skills.

Traditional leadership training teaches people how to manage — but not how to lead, how to build trust or how to be human with employees. It’s time for a new approach!

Ten Skills Every Manager Needs

1. Every manager needs to be able to ask for and take in feedback from their employees — without becoming defensive. This is a fundamental leadership skill that most managers lack. They are used to calling the shots, not asking their employees how they could get better at their jobs.

2. Every manager must develop the ability to take an employee’s perspective and see things from the employee’s point of view.

3. Every manager needs to understand how his or her function fits into the overall organization and how their business competes in its marketplace. Unfortunately, many managers have no idea how their organizations compete. They know a lot about their department but very little about the industry, the world or current events. That’s a big problem!

4. Every manager needs to learn self-reflection. They need to notice their own fear reactions — for example, when their boss is upset with them or when they are upset with one of their employees. Until we can notice and temper our own fear (keeping in mind that anger is a fear reaction) we will never learn to be leaders!

5. Every manager needs to know how to acknowledge and reinforce employees – and how to avoid bashing and criticizing them when they make a mistake. True leaders accept their employees’ mistakes as their own learning opportunities — after all, being a leader means taking responsibility for everything that happens in the department.

6. Every manager needs to learn to stand up for their teammates when a higher-up manager gives an order that isn’t feasible or achievable. Leadership means facing fear and stepping through it, but this aspect of leadership gets short shrift in traditional leadership training. If you can’t stand up for your employees when there’s pressure on you to conform, you might be a supervisor — but you are not a leader.

7. Every manager needs to learn to manage his or her own career, completely apart from managing their department. We are all free agents now. We are all independent economic units. Leadership training can incorporate the idea of career self-determination and help managers develop their own long-term career plans, whether those plans keep them in the company that provided the training or take them far away from it!

8. Every manager needs to learn to communicate with people of different ages, ethnic backgrounds, religions, political stripes and personality types and must learn to be open to a wide range of perspectives. It takes patience and focus to step out of our traditional biases, but it is part of every leader’s job to do so.

9. Every leader must learn how to build trust and community at work. Without trust, a department can’t function the way it should. Too often, managers achieve results through fear — through threats, veiled or overt. That’s the opposite of leadership!

10. Finally, every manager must learn to be human at work, especially when conditions are ripe for fear-based management tactics to creep in. When we lose our humanity at work, we are no longer leaders — we are functionaries and lackeys, doing what we’re told out of fear of doing anything else.

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Are You In Love With Your Company?

If you’re not, you want to be.

Social psychologists have published enough research in the last 10 years to convince us that loving what we do, who we do it with and why we do it are key to our overall well-being and longevity. Business analysts and market research firms have gathered extensive data on the impact engaged employees have on an organization’s bottom line. Experts go so far as to say that engaged employees are the onlycompetitive advantage a company has.

If “engaged employee” reads like an oxymoron to you, it may be time to evaluate (or re-evaluate) your relationship with your employer. Ask yourself: Am I confused about the purpose of my work and whether I can add value? Do I believe I’m a victim? Am I feeling stuck? Do I often catch myself complaining or venting to…anyone around? Am I often in conflict with others?

Out-of-love employees and their companies create what Roberta Lee, M.D., calls “superstress” – a condition that manifests as job dissatisfaction, burnout, noise pollution, loss of meaningful work and lack of valuable connection with others. We know from our own experience that workplace superstress permeates our physical, mental and emotional beings. Chronic conflict with our boss, co-workers or customers produces these unhealthy behaviors that we allow to perpetuate. We make excuses. We miss work. We make mistakes. We have more accidents. Our organization’s productivity and profitability suffer and turnover begins to occur – a vicious cycle. Exhaustion, scarcity of time and fear keep us from doing anything about it. Our brain sounds the alarm, orchestrating stress responses. If this alarm is set off too often, it can do serious physical damage: disturbed sleep, moodiness, memory loss, brain fog, anxiety – even depression.

All too often, we don’t break this pattern of superstress. Life does it for us. Something happens – something significant. A close call with death. The birth of a child. A loss of someone close to us. A wonderful surprise. An accident. A wake-up call that so much more is possible creates space to think differently – and some of us begin to. We examine this question of whether we are in love with our company, or simply biding our time.

When we love our work, and it loves us back, discretionary effort – that human superpower – is abundant. We will go far and beyond what is required and tap into that vast channel of energy to achieve amazing, seemingly impossible goals. This is employee engagement. Organizations know when it’s happening because it’s visible – we show up! We create a respectful and trust-filled environment for those around us. We look out for one another and help each other achieve shared goals. We smile, laugh and reach out to our colleagues and clients and offer whatever assistance they might need in the moment. We naturally and enthusiastically celebrate one another’s wins! We are in it.

Meet Gayle. She works for the same company she began with right out of grad school. She wasn’t the top recruit or the highest potential, but she’s in love with her company, and they are in love with Gayle. She rides her bike to work and joins her team for coffee three days a week. She manages a team of five who spend most of their days dealing with unhappy customers. She and her team have made it their mission to become number one in customer satisfaction across all of the regions. Why? Because why not? They can! Gayle’s focus is on leading her team to find innovative solutions to customer problems, to go beyond what they expect and to follow up without being asked. Her passion for what she does has led her to take a few risks and challenge upper management regarding certain policies. Instead of being shut down for bringing forward out-of-the-box thinking and proactive solutions, Gayle’s company has promoted her twice in one year to demonstrate to others that her behavior is what the company values.

What companies do to drive engagement with their employees is similar to what happens in any good relationship. Leaders come together to create an environment that appreciates, supports, delights in and honors meaningful work. Diversity is embraced and nourished in all its forms. People are encouraged to find shared purpose in their lives.

And, just as in any relationship, we should expect some ups and downs. Healthy conflict and seasons of difficult communication are to be expected. Some days just being better than others. But you owe it to yourself to assess your current role and your organization. Address the barriers to loving your company. Work on the relationships at play and be open to learning about yourself and others in the process. If it’s simply not meant to be, courageously make a change. You deserve to love how you earn a living.

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Job Posts on LinkedIn Will Now Feature Salary Insights

From LinkedIn Blog.

In 2016, we introduced LinkedIn Salary—a tool that allows users to see a detailed breakdown of salaries by job title and location based on information privately submitted by LinkedIn members. The goal of LinkedIn Salary is to bring transparency to salary information to help professionals understand their earning potential and make informed decisions about their career.

Since then, we’ve been hard at work identifying ways to bring more transparency to conversations about salary. That’s why today we are rolling out Salary Insights: a new way for job seekers to explore compensation details on open roles. This feature will appear on job listings and will show an estimated or expected salary for the role, based on data from our 530+ million members and employer provided information.

For companies, Salary Insights means that candidates’ expectations are aligned up front so you are getting more quality applicants and can spend more time focusing the conversation on your company culture and growth opportunities. Salary Insights will also give you more control over your salary data, as you can provide the expected range and job seekers will no longer have to go to multiple, disparate sources to get a complete picture of your role.

How Salary Insights works

As mentioned, there are two types of of Salary Insights:

  1. Expected salary: This is provided by companies for specific roles they have job posts for on LinkedIn.
  2. LinkedIn Estimated Salary: Shown only if the employer doesn’t provide a salary—and only if we have sufficient input from members matching that title, company, and location.

When you post a job on LinkedIn, you’ll now have the option to add a salary range. This will appear as the “expected salary,” noted as employer-provided.

If you don’t provide salary information, a “LinkedIn estimated salary” may appear on the job post. This range is culled from member-submitted responses to LinkedIn Salary, and is clearly marked as an estimate from LinkedIn.

An estimated salary will only appear if we have enough input that matches that role, company, and location—otherwise, we won’t display any salary information.

Employers can override estimated salaries for a given job by providing an expected salary range.

Providing Salary Insights upfront attracts more talent, focuses your conversations, speeds things up, and adds clarity to the candidate experience

After your company’s website, LinkedIn is the #1 place candidates get info before applying to a job. By having Salary Insights on your job posts, candidates won’t have to leave LinkedIn to search across several sources. That means they can stick around to keep learning about your company, reach out, apply, and talk to you about their priorities.

Instead of leaving salary talks until the end of the interview process, you can align expectations early so you can spend your conversations talking about everything else that matters to candidates, like their career, your culture, and how they’ll add to it. And, since compensation is one of the top reasons people change jobs, salary info can be be a powerful trigger for otherwise passive candidates to respond or reach out.

While there are other websites where candidates can see user-submitted salaries, the figures they find are often noisey, conflicting, and outdated—and you have no control over what they see. Supplying an employer-provided salary range gives candidates clarity and peace of mind, and you can rest easy knowing that they’re not dropping out based on unreliable info from other sources.

Finally, as pay transparency continues to become the new status quo, it’ll be easier for you to understand your competitive landscape and see how your compensation stacks up.

Overall, salary transparency, whether employer provided or based on LinkedIn’s member provided data, will help improve the hiring processes for both employers and candidates alike by setting expectations right off the bat, allowing everyone to focus on the other important parts of the job.

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