Strategies

112 articles

Incoming ‘chief people person’ mandates an HR SWAT team in every federal agency. Are we finally on the road to hiring reform?

In an effort to get government moving on practical hiring reforms, Office of Personnel Management chief John Berry is mandating a handful of audacious new HR measures. Berry, who calls himself "the Chief People Person for the Federal Government," has instructed all agencies and departments to shape up many of their human capital processes.                                        We all know how complex and…

Wayne Gretzky and The Zen of Talent Engagement in a Web 2.0 World

I'm a big fan of Wayne Gretzky, in fact, he’s one of my heroes. He’s arguably the greatest hockey player of all time, and certainly the most prolific scorer, in part because he always went where the puck was going, not where the puck had been. At TMP Worldwide, we consistently strive to ensure that we are leading our clients…

Online video for recruiting: keep it simple, keep it real.

As YouTube and Facebook remind us daily, cell phone and other spur-of-the-moment video has become a powerful one-to-many peer communication tool worldwide, particularly among Gen-Y populations. If you harbor any interest in recruiting members of this segment for your agency, can you convincingly deny that online video deserves an important place in your web toolset? We’re all familiar with the…

Crowdsourcing. Or shall we call it Talentsourcing?

Crowdsourcing has become one of the most efficient and somewhat controversial ways for companies to solve business problems. It is a distributed problem-solving model in that a company broadcasts their key issues to be solved to a mass of unknown groups of people. With web 2.0 open social platforms, there are a lot of companies practicing this. You have probably…

Best Places to Work…even federal agencies get ranked

You’ve certainly seen Best Places to Work lists in business magazines like Fortune, and maybe in the niche publications that publish their own rankings for narrower constituencies. What you might not know is that Washington’s Partnership for Public Service regularly produces a similar government-wide ranking of federal departments and agencies (http://data.bestplacestowork.org/bptw/index). It’s all based on what a couple hundred thousand…

Economic Slump. Personal Branding Boom.

We spend a lot of time on how companies can differentiate themselves from their competition, and connect and recruit the right candidates for the right roles. We have seen how social has turned businesses upside down and forced companies to rethink their talent attraction strategies. However we have also seen how quickly all has changed within the last 2 years…

Infra-inferences

Had a conversation yesterday with a colleague of mine, Lesley DeCanio, of the Miami DeCanios. After we got through laughing about whether or not neutrinos could have both mass and an electric charge (that Lesley is such a joker), the discussion turned to how staffing professionals could strengthen their organizations in a non-recruitment environment.While the context seems oxymoronic (unlike a…

The future of sourcing

its now been a little more than 10 years the job boards arrived in our industry and pretty much changed everything ... well, wait, was it the job boards or "just" the Internet? In the last 18 month or so, there probably hasn't been a week without someone asking me about Second Life : "is it going to change the way recruitment is done?", "is it the next big thing?". Hum ... well ... obviously no. That usually triggers a "what is the next big thing then?" question. Actually I have bad news : as Steve puts it, "The Future is NOW", meaning you shouldn't be expecting something huge to happen, it's all up for grab NOW, it's all under our noses NOW. The Next Big Thing is we are going to leverage all that's available NOW.

Know Your Employees as Individuals

People ask me frequently about the benefits healthcare delivery systems are offering which have proven to be effective in improving retention. There are lots of them and I am seeing a true variety of innovative benefits being developed, vetted financially and offered. Being a Baby Boomer, I have always pretty much taken for granted whatever benefits were offered to me and simply gone on being a workaholic. I always thought the flexibility of life/work balance was for Generations X and Y—until last week. On September 8th my friend, university professor, author, tennis player, world traveler, wine enthusiast, foodie and pianist slipped from his couch where he was reading and died from a massive heart attack. He was 51-years-old. His death brought my world to a halt. I couldn’t think and I certainly couldn’t work. But there is no little section in a benefits manual about what time you get when a friend—not even a romantic one—dies. Grandmothers get so many days and spouses get a few more. Friends don’t make the cut. I am well aware that my work is very different from those who deliver the nation’s healthcare and it was easier for my employer to let me stop, but I cannot tell you how grateful I feel for having been given the option. It occurred to me that no one was questioning my need for time off because they knew me personally. They knew what he meant to me and they acted accordingly. Benefits are vital and must be documented and bound into manuals. But common sense and kindnesses need to be played on the run. Things happen every day that people don’t expect. --Things that bring people’s worlds to a halt. How those things are handled can be the difference between an employee feeling grateful and another feeling wounded and unappreciated. Front line managers remain the most influential factor in whether or not an employee stays or goes. Some of those managers have good common sense and others don’t. Some inherently know how to get to know their employees individually and others hide in their offices hoping nothing explodes. Almost none of the managers have the time. But being human is vital to building teams, retaining employees and delivering great healthcare. As employers, co-workers, managers and individuals in positions to help people live better lives, we need to make certain managers understand the importance of knowing their employees as people. They need to know what is important to them individually and they need to be taught how to live within the rules of the benefits manual as well as the rule of reaching out to an employee in need. Most of the time, needs do not involve large events such as a death, but rather, something that requires a simple kindness. --And, many times those small needs are less difficult to see. In my speeches I often refer to a proven retention program called “Inventorying Your People” which trains managers on how to document what is important to each individual employee. Things like what generation they consider themselves to be part of, what their career goals are and why they work. This tool has proven to be exceptionally beneficial in improving retention, but it is nothing more than providing an outline on how to ensure common sense and good judgment for managers. Employees will continue to stay because a healthcare system offers big things like subsidized child care, adoption assistance or $10,000 to go toward buying a first home. Many more employees will stay if they count their manager and co-workers among their friends who really know who they are as individuals.

Being Brave Enough to Fix What’s Broken

Every week Starbucks sends out an army of secret shoppers to measure the service individuals receive when they step up and order that venti caffe latte. The shoppers are charged with capturing what it is like to be a customer. If the barista provides exceptional service they are rewarded, but if the service is lacking, employees are provided training and watched for improvement. Everything is measured, documented and rewarded (one way or the other). Various healthcare delivery systems have been doing the same thing for about ten years when it comes to recruitment. How does it really feel to be a candidate applying for a critical position? With competition this stiff, every Human Resource Department needs to function with superior listening skills and an urgency that makes the candidate feel special. Not only does a smooth running HR Department capture the best and the brightest in terms of recruitment but it also builds the foundation for retention. Vette Swint, Employment Manager at Tanner Health System in Northwest, Georgia wrote to ask about Secret Shopping and what we have learned. What we have learned is not to be surprised by anything. We all assume recruiters are anxiously awaiting the good candidate and when they present—either online, over the phone, as a walk-in or through an Employee Referral Program—they are greeted professionally and legally. That isn’t happening 20% of the time. Top candidates are dismissed, given completely wrong information, treated like a nuisance, sent out the door and more often than not—not acknowledged at all. Thousands of online resumes are never reviewed. Candidates are routinely asked illegal questions by both the HR professional and the hiring manager. Entry-level applicants are generally dismissed and the good ones go out the door and find a job not where they would like to work, but where they are looked in the eye and recruited in a timely manner. Here are some of the highlights we’ve found from Secret Shopping: • Most healthcare delivery systems drive candidates online to apply, but only 18.1% of those applying ever hear anything. Online systems were to be the answer to recruiters being overwhelmed, but we’ve found it is just one more barrier to getting in the door. • When applying online only 9.9% ever hear anything and a high percentage only hear when they call to inquire about the status of their application. When the applicant explains they have already applied online, the recruiter’s response is “let me see if I can find your application.” Once found, the candidate is then afforded a response. • The online application is oftentimes cumbersome and unfriendly. It seems many systems simply took their paper application and put it online. Much is redundant and because it is lengthy the system tends to crash and force the applicant to start over. Beyond frustrating. • Candidates who walk in almost never get an interview even if they are applying for critical-to-fill positions such as Physical Therapists and Pharmacists. Registered Nurses are treated a little better but only one in four actually get an interview when presenting unannounced. Recruiters seem to be incredibly busy and they are. On average, recruiters spend only 45% of their time actually recruiting. There are Safety Committee meetings and the United Way and a zillion other odds and ends that get pushed to HR’s door and into the already swamped laps of recruiters. If a recruiter is a generalist, employee relations is going to win over recruitment every time and while some issue is being settled, applicants are walking to the competition. • Entry-level applicants are routinely dehumanized even though they should be one of the hottest hires. The number two reason a professional such as an RN, PT or Respiratory Therapist decides to leave the organization is because of high vacancy among entry-level workers. If you don’t have enough Certified Nursing Assistants or Unit Secretaries, the professionals have to step in to fill their shoes and they quickly tire and begin to question their own commitment to the organization. • Hiring Managers make legal mistakes more often than HR professionals, but it is a rare shop when someone doesn’t step over the legal line. Applicants are asked everything from their amenability to a “one night stand” to asking about “religious wildcard days” and if they plan to have more children. These are lawsuits just waiting to happen. • The recruitment process in healthcare delivery systems bleeds time. While we are seeing some immediate responses from recruiters, they are few and far between. However, when we shop other industries such as IT or finance, the responses are usually immediate. The younger generations—the very ones we desperately need as employees—don’t wait two weeks to hear if a company is interested in beginning the process. • Communication with the applicant is almost void. When individuals are looking for a job, every minute they don’t hear anything adds to the roar in their head. “They don’t want me” and “why haven’t they called” becomes louder and louder until the candidate decides they didn’t want the job anyway. Two days is a long time for a candidate; two weeks is unthinkable. What we have also found is that most of the recruiters who want to make a good hire are exceptionally hard working and want to treat everyone special. But the way the healthcare system is set up, it is nearly impossible. Yes, there are thousands of great resumes that are being lost because they are un-reviewed. But along with those thousands of good ones are thousands and thousands of unqualified ones. If you don’t have time to interview a hot candidate who has walked in your door, you aren’t going to have the time to weed through all the non-qualified applications mixed with the qualified ones. Recruiters need help on several fronts, but one immediate answer would be hiring a part-time screener who does nothing but review and respond to the online applications. This individual could even work from home and on a contract/hourly basis. They don’t need to become a full time employee unless you have an open FTE. And, if you are thinking about how to pay for another person, think about the absurdity of spending money on recruitment advertising in an effort to push more candidates into the system, if you aren’t looking at the ones already screaming to be reviewed. The Screener could review all the applications; respond to everyone with either a prepared “No Thank You” or a personal response about how interested XYZ Healthcare System is in their application. The good applicants could then be turned over to the recruiter who hopefully has the time to make the qualified candidate feel special immediately. Secret Shopping has shown us that nationally the recruiting system in healthcare delivery is broken, but at least now we know what needs to be fixed. When the shopping is conducted for a specific system we also learn what needs to be fixed individually. The good news is that everyone wins because the recruiter gets the help they need, the processes are realigned and the individual hospital rises above the competition. The successful healthcare system makes people feel lucky to have been chosen and they start out fully engaged, retention improves, recruiters are better equipped to manage the challenge and managers get the hires they need. Secret Shopping is being brave enough to want to know what is really happening and being willing to fix what’s broken. If you have a question related to healthcare recruiting you’d like me to answer on a future blog, send me an email at askgreta@tmp.com