Settling for the Status Quo: How to Challenge Yourself in HR, Part 2

cisive hr

In Part 1 of this post, we discussed going beyond metrics and ROI of HR and the need for change agents in human resource leadership. Now we’ll get to specific ways to overcome the status quo and the neuroscience of change.

Be a Rebel

In a Harvard Business Review article, Lois Kelly and Carmen Medina, the authors of Rebels at Work: A Handbook for Leading Change from Within, offer suggestions for how employees can more effectively advance their good ideas, even in organizations resistant to constructive nonconformists.

Say the authors, “In a recent research study among self-identified rebels at work, we found that among their strengths were — not surprisingly — honesty, creativity, curiosity, and fairness. But self-regulation, perseverance, and prudence were among their weaker points. Setting small goals and appreciating the small wins along the way will help you strengthen those weaker traits and help prevent you from giving up too soon because you’re frustrated that things aren’t happening the way you want them to and you decide not to persevere.”

Some of the pitfalls include failing to prioritize your ideas, which can lead to creative pitch burnout from company decision makers; trying to go it alone, as many successful endeavors require a team approach; and ignoring your personal red flags for creative burnout. Creativity is a renewable source of energy for rebels, but pessimism can be an unintended side effect of swinging and missing a pitch.

Think Like a Marketer

HR pros play a lot of roles: employee liaison, culture keeper, people leader, coach. But the best ones are also marketers. They boost employer brand and improve the overall experience for employees. And when HR adopts marketing techniques, they can better manage talent.

An article in Entrepreneur outlines four marketing principles HR professionals can use to help achieve company buy-in for new ideas, including:

(1) know your target audience. Employees receive hundreds of emails every week — yet 50 percent of those surveyed in theEMPLOYEEapp’s Mobile Trends in the Workplace survey said they still feel out of the loop. Why? Because the messages aren’t tapping into their interests. Learn everything you can about your audience and use the knowledge to target messages to specific groups of employees rather than a company-wide email blast.

(2) One brand voice, every channel. Marketers know that if they want to get the attention of their audience, they need to use more than one method. A campaign cannot be successful through emails and newsletters alone. Marketers use a mix of media to convey their messages. They use video, images, interactive websites, social media and more.

(3) Create an information hub. When HR focuses on a branded employee experience, encouraging program participation becomes easier. Bring all programs, initiatives and information together in one easy-to-use platform. Think of it as a hub that integrates the most important HR benefits, programs and initiatives in one convenient place.

(4) Measure effectiveness. Decide what metrics are most important to the company culture and overall business goals and track them to drive employee engagement. Are employees responding to messages? Are they participating? Are they happy? What can be done better? Some HR systems learn about people and take action so employers don’t even have to.

jim owens cisive
James Owens, president and CEO of Cisive, is the author of this article.

The Neuroscience of Change

Dr. Britt Andreatta is the CEO of 7th Mind Inc, a TEDx Speaker and a best-selling author whose work focuses on workplace neuroscience, specifically in the areas of leadership, learning, change and culture. Her newest book, Wired to Resist: The Brain Science of Why Change Fails and a New Model to Drive Success, was just released.This podcast interview on neuroscience covers some good points on how as leaders we should introduce or manage the science of change acceptance or adoption at work. This is critical to going beyond the status quo and standard workplace politics and working to really moving the needle in an organization.

Dr. Andreatta says that it is important for organizations and leaders to understand where each employee is on the change journey. Leaders who are involved in creating and building new organizational strategies have had time to adjust to the new change while employees often have not been given the time to consider, learn about and adjust to those same changes. This is one of the many situations where workplace neuroscience and leadership can help.

According to Dr. Andreatta’s research, there are three categories of people who take part in the workplace change journey. They are 1) expedition designers, 2) guides who are most often managers, and 3) travelers. She says that people throughout the organization will fall into these different categories depending on the change processes taking place and what part of the organization they work in.

In order for organizations to succeed and their employees to embrace change, organizational leaders must focus on their employees and help create new neural pathways for their employees in everything they do, from launching a new training program, workplace process, or employment video.

Finally, driving change and moving from the usual needs to have the support of organizational leaders and a culture of trust. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter how much you’ve researched and planned a new program if it doesn’t have the support and trust of the executive leadership team.

Settling for the Status Quo: How to Challenge Yourself in HR, Part 1


Following what has always been done is comfortable, like a warm blanket. It’s safe — but failing to change or evolve in this fast-moving economy and talent market could be to an organization’s detriment. It’s important for HR leaders and team members to consider themselves trend hunters and thought leaders operating with a mindset where creativity and new ideas are welcomed. This doesn’t mean being cavalier. Rather, it means being open to new ideas and seeking them out, taking the time to vet and discuss them, as well as implementing programs strategically that can drive department or organizational change.

The ROI of HR

The resistance to change in human resources in part comes from the fact that the department is seen as a cost or expenditure versus a revenue-generating center. As HR grew in complexity and became more involved in business forecasting, establishing business ROI and executing progress that could be directly tied to future and current business success, so evolved the role of the HR professional into something more than it ever intended to be. We are strategic business partners forcibly involved in the success of organizations evaluating not just hiring, firing and traditional hiring advisory roles but so much more. This is where the HR ROI Scale developed by Paul Kearns comes into play.

cisive hr

As our roles become more complex and more strategic with the organization, the metrics of HR become less important, because the real value we provide is in the larger organization as a whole. Challenging yourself as an HR leader means adopting new methods and processes, thereby demonstrating a value for your organization that goes beyond ROI.

“Perpetual Beta”

Consider HR technology. Jason Averbook, co-founder and CEO of LeapGen, says that human resources must look beyond their department silos and focus on workforce technology that is focused on business processes, tools, and resources for the end user which in this case isn’t HR but managers and their teams (Workology podcast #118: Finding the ROI In Your Workplace & HR Technology #hrtech). The key when implementing successful tech, Jason says, is to always be in perpetual beta, meaning that there is always change, improvements, and enhancements, just like you see in consumer technology. This move towards “perpetual beta” has happened because of new cloud-based workforce technologies making it easier to update, enhance and change the experience and structure for enterprise technology users.

Perpetual beta doesn’t just apply to technology. If you’re always working with a new test model in HR, it seems less risky because you’re labeling it as such. It’s an easier sell to management, and the “test and scale” methodology that is so popular in tech startups gives you room to fail — which can help get you out of the same/same mindset and into a change adoption state.

In HR, like in marketing, it is difficult to put a number on the value of new programs or processes. What you can measure, however, is workplace adoption rates, employee engagement increase or decrease, and scalability. Because change is constant in the workforce, it’s natural for HR to be a change leader and early adopter. One great example is the wave of companies adopting unlimited PTO. While we don’t know what company was first to execute, we can imagine how the conversation went between HR and company executives. Companies needed a way to stand out to candidates and differentiate their perks. It was likely a HR leader who said “let’s take our two weeks of sick and vacation time and make it unlimited PTO.” Cue the company CEO and executives chorus of “no’s.” And then one company did it, with the bonus side effect of earned media coverage. Once that domino fell, other companies rushed to do the same and became part of a corporate experiment that resulted in happier employees. SHRM data suggests only about 1% of employers offer open PTO, so it’s definitely a big step, but it’s an excellent example of challenging the status quo.

James C. Owens
President and CEO


Are Employees Ready to Wage a “Wage War”? A recent survey says yes!

survey 4 In past years, employers have had the upper hand over anxious job seekers.  However, the findings in Spherion’s new 2016 Emerging Workforce Study (EWS) shows that shifting economic conditions and a strong job market are giving power back to employees.

According to the survey, more employees believe they have leverage to demand higher salaries and better benefits from their employers OR they will look for them elsewhere!

The study indicates that employers seem to recognize the importance of raising wages to retain top employees – (74%) of companies say they have increased wages to remain competitive. A nearly equal number (73%) say they have seen their competitors raise salaries.

However, 62% of employers who recognize the need to pay higher wages say they simply cannot afford to do so.

The impending “wage war” is not the only hot-button issue fueling changes in the workplace. The EWS highlighted other additional factors influencing how both employees and employers evaluate today’s most critical issues, some of which are noted below.

Employee Engagement: 23% of employers cite employee engagement as one of their top three concerns over the next two years. The research also uncovers some surprising disconnects between what employers think and what employees believe.

Employees are more engaged than employers believe.

  • Employers: 17% believe their employees are highly engaged
  • Employees: 50% said they are highly engaged

Employers and employees are somewhat misaligned on what drives engagement:


  • Relationship with boss
  • Company strength and stability
  • Impact on company success


  • Rewards for accomplishments
  • Impact on company success
  • Relationship with boss

Employee Retention: Employers continue to struggle with retention, with 47% reporting they have replaced more than 20% their workforce in last 12 months.  The EWS found that employers and employees share differing views on the factors influencing retention.

  • Employers:  Believe workers value more personal influencers, such as supervisor relationships.
  • Employees: Prioritize financial compensation in their decisions

Workplace Diversity: Employers and employees agree on the importance of diversity in the workplace. Both parties recognize that a diverse and inclusive workplace fosters growth and learning.

  • Employers: 89%
  • Employees: 75%

Both employees and employers agree that diversity and inclusion initiatives could be better executed.

“A” grade for their efforts to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace:

  • Employers: 24%
  • Employees: 28

“C,” “D” or “F” grade:

  • Employer: 32%
  • Employee: 33%


Survey Methodology: The 2016 Emerging Workforce Study was conducted online during February and March 2016, among 416 human resource managers and 2,810 employed adults, ages 18 and older.

Worried About Employee Retention? Gallup Reports U.S. Employee Engagement Slips Below 33%!

employee engagement 2

A new Gallup poll for the month of May shows that 32.7% of U.S. workers are engaged in their jobs. The research shows that out of the remaining 67.3%, 50.9% are “not engaged” and 16.4% are “actively disengaged.” The May 2016 employee engagement average is based on Gallup Daily tracking interviews conducted with 7,327 U.S. adults working for an employer.

Despite dropping below 33.0%, the May employee engagement average remains higher than it was in 2015 and is in line with the generally stronger monthly averages Gallup has recorded over the past six months.

According to Gallup, organizations appear to be making incremental — but important — progress in employee engagement, pushing engagement closer to the rare 33.0% mark. Certain economic factors may also be influencing improvement in engagement levels.

Employee engagement and retention continue to be important issues for HR managers. In a recent SHRM poll, employees cited the following three top reasons they would look for a new job now that the job market has improved:

  • 53% seek better compensation and benefits.
  • 35% cited dissatisfaction with potential career development.
  • 32% said they were ready for a new experience.

Engagement and retention go hand-in-hand. In essence, if you treat your employees right, you will not lose them. It is important to engage them early on in the onboarding process, communicate goals, roles and responsibilities so they know what is expected, and recognize and celebrate success.

Wondering how to keep your employees happy? A new survey says Cash is King!


According to a survey conducted by BambooHR of more than 1,000 business professionals, most people prefer money to titles and other types of recognition.  Finally, people I can relate to! I’ve read an unending amount of articles over the last few years describing how transparency, recognition, a fancy title, extra perks, paid days off, etc. are the important things that keep employees happy. I’d scratch my head thinking transparency and recognition won’t pay my mortgage and the last time I checked, the dentist wouldn’t accept my fancy title as payment for my son’s braces.  While those other benefits are definitely nice, a new survey shows that cash is king!

According to BambooHR’s survey:

  • 82 percent of employees said they only needed a 3 percent raise to accept money over a title promotion.
  • While most prefer money, one in five prefer the title change.
  • Employees are not interested in being offered “advancement” in title or responsibility without increasing their pay.
  • 70 percent of employees prefer a cash bonus over recognition through a company-wide email from a company executive.
  • 3 out of 4 said a bonus would have to be at least $2000 for them to accept it over a company-wide recognition email.
  • 1 out of 5 said a bonus would have to be at least $5000 for them to accept it over a company-wide recognition email.
  • 70 percent would prefer a gift card while 30 percent would opt for cash added to their next paycheck – probably because the paycheck cash is taxed.
  • 30 percent of employees prefer an email recognizing their contributions. Employees also say they’d much rather be recognized by an executive in a company-wide email than receive a prestigious industry award.

So, according to this new survey, it is important to know your employees and what it takes to keep them happy and engaged. Most people work for monetary reasons so it’s no surprise that monetary recognition is the No.1 choice.

Having trouble recruiting valuable employees? Here are 5 big recruiting trends for 2016 that might help.

you-hired-word-writing-banner-55916299      Hiring and retaining valued employees continues to be very challenging for most hiring managers. However, experts say that hiring forecasts for 2016 remain strong. To be successful in this candidate driven market, employers must develop a strategic plan.  According to Roy Maurer of HR Magazine, here are some of the recruiting trends experts anticipate this year that should be incorporated into your strategic plan:


  1. Focus on employer branding will grow:  Valuable candidates are in the driver’s seat!  Job seekers are very sophisticated and interested in working with the top companies that offer the values they are interested in. They do their research! Showcasing your employer brand has never been more important. Best practice is to focus on the individual’s needs and match those needs with unique opportunities in your organization.
  2. Use of talent analytics will increase: Analyzing data to measure and improve hiring is critical. As HR and recruiting find the best ways to gather and understand data they will have better insight into issues concerning future and current employees, the best workplace options, and competitor talent pools.
  3. Employers will broaden their sourcing scope: The current lack of qualified candidates is causing organizational leaders to look into developing talent internally, using their internship programs to usher young talent into their employee pipeline, and fundamentally changing their hiring criteria.
  4. HR will look to repair the candidate experience: Organizations are strengthening their onboarding process to ensure that candidates can easily find and apply for open positions. A robust onboarding process is also a way for the company to stay engaged with candidates throughout the hiring process and ensure their onboarding is as easy and efficient as possible.
  5. HR technologies will integrate: A consolidation of tools and cross platform expansion will continue this year at a slow pace as talent acquisition technology shifts from using multiple platforms to utilizing a single platform. 

How strong is your Employer Brand? See how Ericsson reinvented its Global Employer Brand to attract top talent

Brand ImageCompeting for top talent is tough in the current economic environment. According to the U.S. Labor Department, 3.1 MILLION employees quit their jobs in December 2015. In a robust job market, it is hard to attract, engage and retain top talent. Therefore, organizations are investing more than ever in their employer brand as they start to understand its breadth and value. Human Resources has become one of the key contributors in communicating a company’s brand identity.   

The question for HR managers is, “How strong is your employer brand?”  Here’s how one global company reinvented its global employer brand to help attract and retain top talent in a very competitive field.  

Ericsson is a communication technology and services provider. As such, it competes for talent with the world’s top companies that have highly visible employer brands.  Think Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook, to name a few, and you can see what they are up against.   

A few years ago, as the company diversified into mobile technology services, it realized the time was right to rebrand itself to compete for top talent. Ericsson’s talent acquisition and recruiting was initially decentralized throughout Sweden and the 10 regions where the company is based. Each region had its own recruiting process.  The company itself did not have a consistent brand message or communication strategy.  

The rebranding process was an intense one. It included focus groups, delving into the perception of Ericsson as an employer, analyzing its competitors’ branding, and identifying the best method to strengthen its employer brand.  The Ericsson team developed a unified employer brand message, named “You + Ericsson”, that focuses on using various media platforms, a new careers website, and social media networks to give people a better understanding of the company culture and its employer brand. Using blogs, video and other formats, the company reaches out to candidates, which has resulted in better brand awareness, and increased site traffic and social media engagement.  

Matt Kaiser, a key member of the Employer Branding & Digital Recruiting / Global Talent Acquisition at Ericsson, shared his approaches with HRO Today at its Global APAC Forum.  He stated, “What we’ve done now is we really centralized that model and we started to look at more of a global approach, so when we look at our message now, we have one overall message that we’re going to market with in order to attract talent, engage talent, and hire talent. We go to market as one Ericsson. We have a global message, but then we’re also capturing information from the regions to provide some slight nuances or regional representation. We have built a communication platform where we are sharing our message that includes our website and our digital channels – things like our social media platform, and our search channels.”  

However, one of the most important issues at Ericsson is employee engagement. Happy employees are brand ambassadors.  According to Kaiser, the company has a high engagement rate, which means their employees are, “excited, they’re passionate, they want to come to work, and they’re happy to be there.” The popularity of social media has made companies a great deal more transparent. People are far more likely to trust a company based on what its employees have to say than on its recruitment advertising. This means that talent attraction relies a great deal on employee engagement and advocacy. Ericsson encourages employees to share their happiness with other like-minded people (engineers know other engineers) through social media and a robust employee referral program. 

As the Ericsson team found out, an employer brand will continue to grow and develop over time and requires ongoing nurturing and attention. Organizations that fail to recognize the importance of their employer brand and monitor it accordingly are likely to find themselves losing out on the best talent to firms with stronger employer brands.





U.S. Labor Department Says 3.1 MILLION Employees Quit Their Jobs in December 2015!

I Quit Sticky Note  That’s the highest number since December 2006!  Employees are feeling confident that the job market is expanding and they can easily find another position.  High employee turnover costs businesses in time, money and productivity. (A recent CareerBuilders survey shows that 42% of respondents said that replacing an employee within the preceding year cost their company $25,000 or more.)

 What are you doing to retain your top talent? There are endless articles about employee retention that list ways to keep employees happy and engaged:  proper compensation, provide perks (Taco Tuesdays!), employee development plans, promote from within, etc., etc.

However, employee retention must start from DAY ONE by providing the new employee with a positive onboarding experience.  Your onboarding solution should be configured to manage the entire lifecycle of your employees – from dynamically created offer letters to new hire packets, I-9s, W-4s, benefit forms, direct deposit forms and training videos, straight through to exit interviews/surveys. The entire onboarding process should be completely paperless and automated.  The system should be easy, efficient, configurable and cost effective, and should engage the new hire with proactive “tasks” to ensure successful and timely onboarding. The new employee should be able to access your onboarding portal from his or her home computer or mobile device to complete the process BEFORE starting with the company.

With an automated onboarding process, on day one your new employees can be ready to start engaging in their jobs and with their new colleagues, and not be spending hours filling out paperwork. That makes for a positive first day of work!

Take a look at your onboarding process.  Then view CARCO’s Onboarding Solution demo to see if you are doing all you can to ensure employee retention from day one!




The 10 Toughest Jobs to Fill in 2016

iStock_000017261466Large Onboarding Sell SheetIt’s no secret in the HR/Talent Acquisition world that the biggest business challenge right now is finding and retaining good employees.  There are some industries that are being hit harder than others.  Unfortunately, according to SHRM’s recent article entitled “The10 Toughest Jobs to Fill in 2016”, it appears that “next year is shaping up to be even tougher as corporate pressure mounts to attract candidates who match the skill sets most in demand. “

Companies are being more creative and flexible with their talent acquisition strategies by using workforce planning and predictive analytics to create a solid recruitment strategy well before any specific jobs need to be filled. Some companies are establishing relationships with colleges as recruitment sources, while others are targeting specific groups as sources for quality candidates.


As the workforce continues to age and technology continues to evolve, demand for qualified employees will rise. While companies should focus on finding the right strategy to find qualified employees, it is also more important than ever to ensure that every touch point in your hiring process is a positive one for new employees – from onboarding to background screening to orientation and getting the employee up to speed and assimilated in an effective and efficient manner.


As many HR/Talent Acquisition managers know, it’s only half the battle to recruit qualified employees.  The other half is retain them!


To see the full list of toughest jobs to fill, go to:


SHRM Releases New Hiring Report

SHRM-Logo21-488x390SHRM Releases New Hiring Report:  Hiring rates should reach a four-year high for April. The LINE Report examines four key areas:  employers’ hiring expectations, new-hire compensation, difficulty in recruiting top-level talent and job vacancies. It is based on a monthly survey of private-sector human resource professionals at more than 500 manufacturing and 500 service-sector companies. Together, these two sectors employ more than 90 percent of the nation’s private-sector workers.

To view report, click here: