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Three Basic HR Best Practises You Should Never Ignore

Human Resources may not be the easiest department to work for in a company. During any given week, HR professionals are often known to break the good news with the bad; hiring a key candidate or turning one down; organizing certain roles during restructuring;  all the while hiring, recruiting and retaining top talent.

Contrary to popular belief among employees (and even HR professionals), the bad doesn’t always outweigh the good, and best practices are constantly being established to ensure this.

In an article on recruiter.com, one best practice to always resort to is creating an employee feedback system. Feedback is an effective means of learning more about suggested changes. Perhaps start conducting what recruiter.com calls employee satisfaction services, or create feedback channels to stay current on certain issues within a company and employee’s concerns.

In the same article, it explained that HR professionals should implement special incentives or performance-based bonuses among employees. While a common practice, it always feels good to be rewarded for hard work and when accolades come down from upper management, it not only maintains good morale, but productivity as well.

The topic of recruiting practices can be discussed until eternity, and is a hot topic all its own. To offset some of the challenges of recruiting, creating and maintaining talent pools is essential for any HR pro.

Talent pools are basically a database of potential candidates to resort to in the time of hiring. According to Monster.com, talent pools are “a contingency plan and can result in reducing costs or time and productivity is not affected too much by a skills shortage. According to Monster.com, some effective ways of building a talent pool include:

  • Remember Previous Potential Applicants: Even though a previous candidate didn’t receive that final offer, it doesn’t mean their skills and qualifications are at a loss for future roles. File their resume (and any additional documents) and add them to “your pool” for reference down the road.
  • Network, Network, and Network:  Trade shows, industry conferences, association meetings, to name a few, are all effective ways of meeting and interacting with potential candidates for future hires. Ask for business cards, request a CV, or basic contact information (and adding separate notes) for your data base is a great way to increase references for the future.
  • Online Searches: This day and age networking is not limited to industry functions. Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and several social networking sites make it so simple to reach out to a potential candidate. This is also something to do when the time allows and always keep their details in a data base.

 

Most of all, Monster.com recommends to keep your talent pool small. It should only contain professionals who will make a difference to your company. Also, the more effort you take to create a solid talent pool, the less work will be required when it comes to the hiring process.

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Four Great Ways Managers Can Relieve Stress for Employees

Your staff stressed at work? They’re not the only ones.

According to Wrike’s United States stress statistics from 2019, 94 percent of American workers reported experiencing stress at their workplace. This means just a mere six percent that were surveyed are content and stress-free. What’s more, as reported by The American Institute of Stress, businesses in the United States lose upwards of $300 billion annually as a result of workplace stress.

Based on these stats, it’s safe to say that stress is more the rule in the workplace than ever before. Having a healthy and happy staff is one of the keys to success. Even though stress may be part of this success, there are ways managers or HR managers can create a less stressful environment.

Data from a national survey of more than 1,000 office employees conducted by Bridge by Instructure, reported that “employers may not be providing the right tools or atmosphere to help employees achieve the work-life balance for full productivity and engagement.”

As a result, Bridge by Instructure recognized the following ways for employees to alleviate stress and a practice that HR managers should encourage among staff.

Here are four key points to consider.

Be More Proactive with Managers

Have your employees communicate more with managers or executives about their needs and career goals. In turn, this can help reduce stress and enable them to achieve greater job satisfaction. It can also help you – as a manager – fulfill more responsibilities.

Take Breaks from the Desk

Sitting for hours can takes its toll more than we realize. So, tell employees to take quick breaks, stand up, grab a coffee, or perhaps exercise with walks or aerobics during lunch. Combined, these actions throughout the work day can reduce stress.

Disconnect

In an age where email and wireless communications reign supreme and 24/7 work cycles are common, employees should take time each day to shut of their phone and other smart device(s) and close their laptop. As a result, this will not only reduce stress, but increase productivity during work hours.

 Take Time Off When Needed

Even though there may never be a good time to take time off or call in sick when needed, encourage your staff to use Paid Time Off (PTO) and use designated sick days when they feel under the weather. Believe it or not, getting away or absences from work increase productivity and improved engagement when they return.

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Are Office Politics Dominating Your Work Environment? Here’s How to Manage Them.

According to collinsdictionary.com, office politics are defined as the ways that power is shared in an organization or workplace, and the ways that it is affected by the personal relationships between the people who work there.”

Office politics is common in any company. Nonetheless, they can ruin productivity, reduce morale, and cause much wasted time, effort, and even good talent. Competition for advancement, striving for constant attention (and the boss’s ear) and the need to always get “your own way,” are not all, but some of the root causes.

Let’s be honest. Office politics can get down, right nasty.

A national survey of more than 1,000 office employees conducted by Bridge by Instructure, Inc., a talent management software suite for businesses, reported “over half believed engaging in workplace politics is an important factor in receiving a promotion.”

While this may be true in some cases, it also means other employees with talent could be disregarded for their efforts and not given the rewards they deserve.

So, what can hiring managers or managers do about this? A lot.

Find the Source

Office politics can arise where competition is fierce. As a result, it’s important to determine who the employee (or sometimes employees) is that is causing the politics in the first place.

It’s not hard to spot. As a manager, try to recognize those superiors who play favorites or those employees who thrive on gossip beyond the water cooler chit chat. In fact, www.mindtools.com suggests to see who gets along with who; which employee(s) find it more difficult to interact with others; determine in-groups, out-groups or cliques; or if interoffice connections are based on respect, friendships, or even romances.

In the event the workplace does get heated (as it often can with office politics) it’ll be easier to determine the source, and find a temporary solution for the problem. Unfortunately, office politics never really go away.

Strive for Open Communication

Communication in the workplace is essential for productivity, growth, and success. It’s also reduces the chances of politics, according to The Management Study Guide. They recommend employees should not play with words and always pass on the information in its desired form. Plus communicate via texts, emails, or various work management software to avoid confusion is also a good idea. From a manager’s perspective, request to be cc’d or bcc’d on any communication to avoid any miscommunication or problems down the road.

 

Promote Transparency and Team Work

A productive workplace is often a happy workplace. As a manager, encourage transparency at all levels so employees are clear of company goals. Policies should also be same for everyone. The Management Study Guide suggests team work should be promoted to not only strengthen bonds amongst employees, but develop stronger relationships.

While there are many methods for managers to combat politics, it just takes a few basic management skills. Once the politics are reduced, you can feel good about managing a sound, creative and productive work environment.

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Rejecting a Candidate for a Role? Here’s How to do it the Right Way.

Although a relatively short process, rejecting a candidate from a role after a short while after interview takes some professionalism, courtesy, and diligence. A bad rejection method can result in a negative reputation about your company, its culture, and can even damage your company brand.

Remember, a candidate is part of your industry and word of mouth spreads quickly, especially if they didn’t take the rejection well. Plus, it’s always important to maintain a relationship with a skilled candidate for a future hire. Just because they were turned down for one role, doesn’t mean you can’t contact them in the future for a more suitable one.

So, when the time comes to reject a candidate be courteous, diplomatic, and responsive.

According to theundercoverrecruiter.com, when the call comes from a client or an executive naming their choice for a role, let the candidate (s) know as soon as possible. After all, it can be stressful process with hopes of a new role on the horizon. Informing them that they didn’t get the role means they can simply move on to other endeavors.  Also, in some cases, it’s more appropriate and professional to take a few minutes do it over the phone, especially if it was a long multi-interview process.  Be respectful, talk to them, and break the news in a gracious way.

Even though hiring managers receive dozens of resumes for one position, they should be as courteous as possible to all applicants before moving to the next round of interviews. This means reaching out those who were not selected. A common practice is a rejection email template. These not only save time, but it also lets the applicant know that they were not selected for the position.

In fact, according to a survey conducted by Indeed, “44 percent of candidates said they waited up to two weeks for a response, while 15 percent waited months. Additionally, “55 percent revealed the digital hiring process has made the experience more inefficient and their resume seems to disappear.”

Choosing your words carefully and being kind and considerate is always essential to ensure the applicant will still have a positive perception of your company. Indeed suggests some of the following tips to create an effective, yet positive rejection email template:

  • Be Polite
    First off, always being polite. Saying “thank-you for their interest in your company, the time they spent completing an application, and the efforts made for the interview (if applicable) is always important.  While courteous, it also demonstrates that you value an applicant’s time.

 

  • Make it More Personal
    It’s true that a rejection email template can be a little cold or too general. So, Indeed suggests including the applicant’s name, the title of position they applied, a note relating to a previous conversation, and mention a specific positive attributes (s) to their skills.

 

  • Suggest Applying for Another Role in the Company
    In the event a candidate was turned down for the desired role, yet they would have been a good fit for the company with their skills, let them know in a simple sentence. There are many reasons why an applicant doesn’t get hired. So, you may want to encourage them to apply for other opportunities in the future and keep their resume and contact information in your data base.

Rejecting an applicant doesn’t have to be a difficult or pessimistic experience. Regardless of the method you do choose, being courteous, diligent and professional is the best way to avoid any hardship or resentment towards you and your company.

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Five Unique Questions that are Illegal to Ask in an Interview

There’s a long list of labor laws that hiring managers need abide by and the last thing you want to do is ask one that leads to discrimination. While recounting every labor regulation in the law book is hard for even the most ardent attorney, hiring managers and HR professionals need to be extra diligent when it comes asking certain specific questions during an interview.

According to Monster, there are a series of ones to avoid, which are considered discriminating (and vary from state to state). Asking about age, religion beliefs, nationality, or kids (or planning on having kids) are all well-known questions to avoid. Yet, there are a series of questions and topics that are lesser known. Here are just a few that are most likely illegal in every state:

  1. Bankruptcy Filing

Asking if a candidate has ever filed for bankruptcy is big a no-no, along with asking about loans, wage attachments, and overall financial status. However, you can ask for certain financial information related to benefits of compensation after they have been hired.

  1. Military Discharge Status

While it’s fine to ask if an applicant is a veteran or they have any job-related experience from the military, always avoid asking their discharge status.

  1. Asking About Nearest Relatives or Next of Kin

This is another question that is off limits, yet it’s legal to ask an applicant about a nearest relative or next of kin for emergency contacts once after they have been hired.

  1. History of Belonging to a Union

Raising a question about previous roles and affiliation within a union is another one to avoid. However, you can make reference about the union status of your workplace.

  1. Disabilities

Whether a disability is apparent or not, this is very much illegal  under The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which “provides protections for disabled employees and job applicants.” When a candidate’s disability is obvious (or has disclosed their disability), it’s suggested to ask about any necessary (or reasonable) accommodations they may need for the position.

Interviewing can be a long process and it’s wise to make special note of the more unique questions. Even though you may not realize that some questions are in fact illegal, it’s always best to do further research to avoid any type of discrimination.

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How to Increase the Impact of Your Company’s Exhibit at Job Fairs

How you present your company at job fairs is essential to attracting potential new talent. In most cases, it all starts with your company’s exhibit on the showroom floor. After all, next to having a show-stopping booth that’s appealing, inviting, and one that will capture attention in the matter of seconds, creating a first impression is king. Plus, it could mean the difference between attracting the talent that you need or having them simply walk by your floor space.
There are many concepts, designs, and marketing materials you can use to ramp up your company’s presence. If you and your team feel your exhibit needs a serious face lift for this year’s run of job fairs, read on.

According to trade-showadvisor.com, it pertinent to first define and clarify what it is your company wants to achieve and what kind of image or marketing message you want to communicate. As a result, your exhibit should reflect that image and/or message. This will not only make it more appealing, but it can more effectively showcase what it is your company can offer. In fact, this can be achieved in many simple ways – all at a cost that won’t break the bank or your budget.

Show Your Company Brand…Clearly

Graphics or banners are nothing new of course, but your company’s branding should be large, clear, inviting – and easy to see amongst a field of the other exhibitors (which could also include your competition). Most printing or graphic shops can customize what it is you require and at reasonable value.

Lighting

One of the most important appointments to consider is your exhibit’s lighting. You don’t need to be an interior designer or an electrician for that matter to create a nice, well-illuminated exhibit. According to trade-showadvisor.com, creative lighting for any exhibit can have outstanding results. For starts, it can emphasize certain focal points of your booth, create a stronger impression of your company, and even offer a warm, inviting atmosphere. Various lighting options are available to meet your specific needs and objectives.

Flooring

When you consider that exhibit hall flooring is nothing but cold, grey, concrete, having custom flooring is a valuable accessory, and for many reasons. It can be as simple as floor mats and area rugs or as enticing as interlocking tiles, modular flooring, or carpeting with your company’s logo (with the latter sending a strong message of professionalism and character). In fact, trade-showadvisor.com suggests that by going the extra mile with a custom trade show floor is a great impression and can play a key role in attracting visitors.

Exhibit Fixtures

According to trade-showadvisor.com, fixtures such as literature racks, table coverings, or display cabinets can also enhance an exhibit’s appearance. They should be designed and arranged so they have the most impact and they can even better help your staff assist with visitors.

Enhancing your exhibit for the 2019/2020 job fair season doesn’t have to be difficult or have all the bells and whistles. By adhering to some of these guidelines to create a clean, inviting, and well-thought exhibit, just might produce the results and prospects your company is looking for.

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Why Employers Should Consider Hiring College Grads

There’s always a certain risk when hiring any employee, regardless of his or her experience. Sure, there might be a greater chance to take with a less-experienced, college grad over a more experienced candidate. Yet, while it all depends on the role, there are substantial benefits in considering those who are fresh out of school and they shouldn’t be entirely disregarded during the hiring process.

The number of college grads looking for their first career job is vast. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, hundreds of thousands graduates graduate every year, ready to take on a new, challenging role in their field of study.

So, should they be considered for a job in your company? Certainly. Here are some reasons why.

Motivation and Dedication

As thousands of grads look for a job in their field every year, achieving an entry-level role can be competitive. According to LinkedIn, this can be a strong motivator to learn, be motivated and develop a deep commitment to a company. An added benefit is that managers can train new grads more easily to company policy and best practices, without dealing with prior work habits they developed from a previous employer.

Grads Have More Experience Than You Think

Even though a college grad may have little professional experience and training may be inevitable, it’s important to realize they have something to offer many companies. This includes being current with the latest software systems, best practices, and even industry trends, regardless of the field. While this may not be equivalent to say, 10 years of experience, a company can save costs, time and effort in training. College grads can even be a great source of new information and bring insightful, fresh ideas to the table.
Develop Talent for the Long-Term

According to LinkedIn, a college grad’s commitment to performance, development and advancement has many benefits for a company. This is good news for college grads as companies recognize these characteristics as valuable qualities. Also, by allowing those to learn and grow into their role could potentially mean future advancement and success – not only for the grad but for a company as well.

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Should You Use Online Tools to Better Understand Job Applicants?

With all the latest developments in digital recruiting tools, are the days of sifting through resumes, conducting interviews, then making a final offer to a candidate over?
Not quite, but the times and hiring practices are certainly a’ changing.

So, with a plethora of new recruiting tools available to help provide a more selective and efficient hiring process, it never hurts to try new methods. Here a few online tools suggested from Hire by Google to help you better screen candidates and provide a more streamlined approach for your next hire.
1. JobPal
AI or artificial intelligence-powered chatbot-based systems are growing in popularity among hiring managers, especially when it comes to sourcing, screening and nurturing candidates. Tools such JobPal addresses simple questions from potential candidates, collects and screens resumes, recommends qualified candidates, and even schedules interviews. It also can also work across a variety of platforms to include your company’s website, Facebook Messenger, and Skype.

2. Maya
Imagine a tool than can ask an applicant questions right after they’ve applied for a job and move the potential ones through your hiring process? Maya and its AI tech can do this and a lot more. It can also request information about experience, previous or current roles, and even specific questions on topics and skills related to the job description.

3. Interview Mocha
Testing skill sets is common for any job candidate. It affords the ability to better examine knowledge and overall qualifications. With its vast range of functions, Interview Mocha has more than 1,000 tests available that cover many industries. Hiring managers or HR professionals can also customize and add questions or even develop new tests altogether with help from its support team.

4. My Ally’s AI assistant
This tool is like having recruiting coordinator, while not actually having one. This smart-assistant tool, again, utilizes AI tech that’s designed to schedule interviews, book conference spaces, reschedule meetings all via email, texting or online chat.

These are just a few of the digital recruiting tools available and are all certainly worthwhile to check out and try. While they cannot replace a face-to-face interview, they can potentially save time, effort, and provide more efficiency to your hiring process.

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Why Your Company Should Consider Referrals

In an age where online job postings are king, the age-old “referral method” is overshadowed as a means of finding that right candidate for a role. In fact, more often than not, existing employees can potentially be that key link to a successful hire, providing HR professionals with an efficient process of filling an available opening.

There’s no doubt that the standard hiring process is a tried-and-true practice with great results. However, in an article on Jobvite.com, organizations that use employee referral programs for potential new hires – as well as those using ATS software – reported “that these employees draw a higher volume of high-quality candidates.” Plus, the potential hires are more likely to be a better fit for a company than non-referral candidates.

According to LinkedIn, hiring a referral is also a method that can provide several benefits to a company as a whole including:

  • Time Savings: In a study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, the average time it takes to fill a given position is 42 days. A referral can offset this time considerably as the whole process of creating a job posting, screening resumes, and conducting interviews for a shortlist of candidates is often eliminated.
  • Offsetting Internal Costs: There are always several costs that can be endured during the hiring process. Staffing agencies, online Job boards/fairs, advertising, candidate travel fees, background checks, and drug testing are just a few of them. In fact, according to the same study by The Society for Human Resource Management, the average cost-per-hire is approximately $4,129. While it may still take some time and effort when considering a referral, much of these resources – and the costs that go along with them – are often not required.
  • Higher Employee Retention: According to an additional article on Jobvite.com, companies experienced a 46 percent retention rate after one year compared to 33 percent from career sites and 22 percent from job boards. Additionally, employee referrals resulted in a 45 percent retention rate after two years; more than 20 percent from job boards after two years; and 14 percent after three years.

Although the conventional hiring process is still a great way for companies to fill a position with highly experienced candidate, a referral is just one efficient method to consider when trying to hire the right employee for your team and company.

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Three Great Ways to Find Top Talent for Your Company

There are many benefits of hiring top talent. Productivity, meeting company objectives, increased motivation among co-workers…the list of incentives go on. While attracting top talent to your team is one thing, finding an employee with the talent you require is certainly another.

There are presently many employment opportunities across all spectrums of the workforce in the U.S. However, finding ideal candidates with the same drive for success can often be time consuming and present all sorts of challenges. As there are many hiring methods used by hiring managers and HR professionals, here are three great starting points to begin your search of finding top talent for your company.

  1. Network, Network …and Network

Attending trade shows, conferences or other industry-related events overtime can no doubt lead to developing a plethora of contacts and potential great hires. According to Fundera.com networking is a “tried-and-true-way” to seek out new employees. It also allows you to recognize the hiring atmosphere of an industry, establish stronger rapport with potential candidates and even recognize skill sets and experience more easily.

Networking is not just limited to industry-related events. Online business and employment-oriented services such as LinkedIn are great ways to source talent. Many offer a bevy of features including customized profile searches, the ability to connect with contacts directly related to your industry and allow you to join professional groups with like minded industry peers.

  1. Get Creative with Job Postings

Any industry has its own required skill sets, specific roles and terminology. Fundera.com suggests that by including your business’s personality and values through job postings candidates can more easily understand if they would be a good fit within the company’s culture and/or the specified role.

Also, be very specific – rather than vague – in a job description. By including distinctive terminology, responsibilities and/or criteria only experienced employees would understand, it allows you to see if a potential candidate identifies with the role, if they understand the responsibilities, and have the desired experience.

 

  1. Persistence and more Persistence

For some hiring managers and HR professionals, finding top talent is like finding a needle in a haystack. According to LinkedIn, thousands of resumes are posted on popular online job sites every day like Indeed.com. While this may result in searching through many profiles and online resumes, chances of success are far greater if this is a consistent practice.

It also means each new search presents new opportunities to find top talent. However, as not all employees are the same to all employers, searches can be simplified by using effective keywords or utilizing functions such as custom-tailored, daily Resume Alerts.

 

Finding an employee may not be difficult, but finding one with the talent you need might be. While there are many tried-and-true methods among HR professionals and hiring managers, these are just a few starting points that may lead to finding that top talent your company requires for long term success.

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