Friday, April 25, 2014

An Intriguing Proposal

I just had a brain storm.

Here we are trying to hire managers and executives and if we do more than interview based on a resume it’s not much. So why not ask an aspiring leader for a proposal. Yes a business proposal supported by a business case. We do this when we pursue other business relationships (e.g. vendors, technology investments, consultants, etc.). So what is wrong with applying this principle to the hiring process for managers?

Think of the advantages.

1.      We get to learn how well the person can communicate in writing.

2.      We discover if hiring them offers an ROI and if so what will the payoff be based on.

3.      We learn how much they know about the assignment and what is can be expected if they assume responsibility for the position.

4.      We may learn that the person has ideas of merit that we had not even thought of. Or their ideas are of questionable value and they should not be hired.

5.      We also gain insight into the business value of filling the position.
6.    What better way to identify the best person for the job. Comparing one proposal or business case to the other should be easy.

In fact, diligent reader, I suspect that you may have conjured up some other good reasons for implementing this practice. If so, please share.


Why have we not thought about doing this before?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Finding Good People

I thought this was a thoughtful article and the comments are revealing.

Why Can’t I Find Any Good People?

It’s amazing.

With so many people out of work or looking for work, why can’t employers find suitable people?

Here are some common theories:

  • Job seekers don’t have the hard skills needed to fill all the utilities, transportation, and trades jobs available.
  • Job seekers don’t have the soft skills needed to fill the professional jobs available.
  • Job seekers don’t have the digital and online skills needed to fill the jobs available.
  • Employers are searching for the “perfect candidate” and overlooking qualified candidates in the process.
  • Job seekers aren’t willing to relocate or take jobs “beneath them.”
  • Employers don’t want to pay realistic wages for the skills they’re seeking.
  • Employers are biased against the unemployed and the underemployed.

I believe all of these things are absolutely, 100% true.

But I’ll tell you something else I believe.

By and large, our hiring systems are broken, and it seems we don’t know how to fix them.

If you’re an employer having a hard time finding good job candidates, I’d like to give you three pieces of advice.

1.   Do something different
I’ll bet you have some idea of what the ideal candidate “looks like” in terms of education, experience, and skill set. If you’re really being honest, I’ll bet you even have some idea of his or her style of dress, manner of speaking, and body weight. Do yourself a favor and put all that aside for a moment. Ask yourself, “What work needs to get done?” and then review each candidate with that thought in the forefront of your mind. Candidates from different industries and different zip codes could indeed possess or be taught the skills you need to ace the job.

I’m not saying you should settle or sacrifice fit. I’m saying—let go of the mindset that
your best new employees are already working for your competitor. It’s untrue. And know this. Just because someone has done something in the past doesn’t mean she’s done it well. Your competitor has duds, too. Why in the world would you want to make his day and hire one away from him? Instead, go out and nab yourself someone fabulous who doesn’t “fit the mold” but still somehow checks all the boxes.

2.   Stop putting up roadblocks in your candidates' way. Bulky, sluggish applicant tracking systems; over-the-top educational or experience requirements; and invasive requests for personal information you don’t need (like social security numbers and high school or college graduation dates) are all a turn-off to candidates, even desperate ones. Don’t let bad policy get between you and the workers that could bring something of value to your organization.

3.   Remember that nothing ventured equals nothing gained. Take a risk. Make a move. If may not be the perfect move, but it could be wonderful nonetheless. So many job descriptions, job ads, and hiring procedures seem to be designed with one goal in mind—eliminating all risk from the process. But that’s impossible to do! Hiring always involves some degree of the unknown. Accept it, and make your decision anyway.

There are many qualified individuals in the market hoping to land a job soon. If you’ve been looking and haven’t found them yet, perhaps accepting more of the onus in the process could bring about a change.

You might have to train someone. You might have to consider someone you dismissed out of hand as a potential “poor fit.” You might have to accept a compromise or pay more than you’d hoped. You might have to take a risk.

But finding that great new employee will be worth it.


1.   Withheld in Fear

I am noticing a lot of job offers that are for positions performing job duties of someone much higher in level than the job offer states. Either HR, the headhunting agency, or the company itself is listing the duties of an engineer, but asking for a "Drafter" so they can get the "drafter" to work cheap and perform engineering duties without ever being given credit as an engineer. Then, they go even further stating "and other duties as assigned"... well that's great! What would those be so we can remove all cover-ups and discuss a realistic salary?

2.   Claudia

HR needs to ditch Taleo as part of their online screening process. The only people Taleo has helped was make the programmers and inventors rich. I've seen many unqualified persons get a job, because the job seeker was able to select the "right answers" according to the computer algorithm. Qualities were missed and red flags that were missed, because the online screening programs were doing the job that should have been done by the HR pro. If HR professionals continue this trend, they will see their positions outsourced to third party businesses.

3.   Susanne  

I am solely responsible for hiring.  All the theories are accurate, except one thing.  I have great candidates for positions, but once hired do not want to do the work that they agreed to do for the pay they accepted.  They are always unsettled and unhappy, even when they go into a position with full knowledge of what is expected.  This is one missing theory!!

4.   Pranav

I have also experienced what Susanne is indicating. It's not for all candidates, but can be found in many!

While accepting the job offer, some employees want to desperately leave the current job. So they say 'YES' to all terms and conditions (responsibilities, negotiated salary) since they do not have a better option available.

Later when they join the company, the 'security' need (Maslow's hierarchy) is met. So they start expecting other things like only strategic work, higher pay etc. And that's how they become dissatisfied.

5.   Philip  

Employers hurt themselves by screen out applicants that are: 1) to old 2) to young 3) to educated 4) not educated enough 5) not in the geographic area 6) unemployed 7) job hoopers 8) etc/etc/etc..

When it gets down to who they will even consider (based on their ATS) they have thrown away many who are more than qualified...

They shoot theirselves in the foot and then wonder why they can't find anyone...

6.   Theresa

Great article.  Just hope the people in hiring positions are reading it.  The thing I find hard with getting hired is when you have over seventeen years of experience in a field but do not have the
"degree" you are not considered for a position.  Employers are looking for "degrees" not realizing how valuable a seasoned person could be to their company. Hiring both degree employees and seasoned employees would greatly benefit a company and the employees.

7.   Becky

I have seen many of these issues when looking for jobs. Especially throwing away a resume because of a lack of a degree, and I've personally experienced discrimination due to weight.  I agree with what Theresa said. Employers believe that a degree means something magical. I just got mine, at 51 years of age, with 30 years of experience. It doesn't make me smarter or a better employee. It just means I have a piece of paper on my wall.

8.   Newton  

I think many employers make a quick decision when they meet someone for an interview, assumptions based on the first few minutes interaction and whether the candidate fits the profile. By
asking the right questions and making the candidate feel at ease, you can get past their nerves and find out their true skill set. If you have any doubts, take references, often a person you thought would be mediocre because they weren't confident in an interview, turns out to have been a shining star to a previous employer. 

9.   Marie  

I think the most common reason why people can't get a job is either that you're like everyone else or you don't have the qualified skills needed for the job. My best advice is to educate yourself and improve your skills and stand out from the rest - do something extraordinary :-)

Monday, February 24, 2014

We may never Agree Post 5 of 5

This is the final post in a series
6. Response

Your right it is going to be difficult to agree. However, I like your thought that to sit at the table you need to have strategic impact. However, based on your own positions, how can HR have a strategic impact in Talent Management if they don’t influence; the talent needed, what is going to attract the talent, what is going to retain the talent or even make the decision to acquire the talent. You see the point is that HR should partner with the other departments on this strategic goal, not just play a role.

I am not confident if organizations are serious about improving the daily life of each employee or executive. But if that is a strategic goal, HR will not be able to do it alone. HR will have to partner with other company leaders and do so in a measureable way where responsibility and accountability can be objectively applied. Otherwise you end up with just another HR program that may or may not have any impact.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

We may never agree post 4 of ?

The dialog continues from my previous post

---------------5.Original Message---------------

I guess we are just not going to agree on this. Here are a few points in response to your note: If HR's contribution is Cost Controls then it will not have a seat at the table. You sit at the table if you can have global strategic impact.

Strategic HR impact is primarily in Talent Management. Having the right people in the right seats at the right time. That is how you add value. If you can deliver this you get a seat.

HR should not have a say on head count. Operations people need to be able to determine the optimal staffing. HR can offer counsel, guidance and advice but not own the head count. HR can find the best candidates for the positions and that is how they earn their seat.

Broker commissions, self insurance are fine ways to control costs but as you know they are only a very small part of the total cost of providing the benefits. And once saved, they are one time savings.

You went on to discuss increasing sales. Companies do not just ask for higher sales from their staff. What they want is increasing net profits. The targets for the increased sales are determined in advance with the factors you enumerated taken into account. Bonus are paid based on selling high net value products not based on the $ volume of sales. So yes the sales staff does have control over this by picking the right targets to sell to and not selling products merely to get the sales dollar volume up.

To get the seat at the table HR has to provide Strategic improvements. Better staff, better assignments for high potentials, better HRIS systems (like implementing cloud based systems) etc. Think how HR can improve the daily life for each employee, each executive and you will be asked to join the senior management. Bring solutions to these kinds of problems not merely cost controls.




Monday, February 10, 2014

We may never agree, post 3 of ?

The dialog continues from my previous post

4. From: msalisbury001
Sent: Monday, February 03, 2014 7:12 PM
Subject: HR Department Alignment to PSFIN Department?

If you're not going to at least share the responsibility then how can you be credited for making a contribution? Look at it this way,

If HR wants a seat at the table they should have some say in the head count. HR should be the lead in designing the compensation plan, how much is available and how it is distributed. Also, HR has significant control over benefit cost even after the benefit plan design has been decided upon. For example, is the broker paid a commission or a flat fee. If it is a commission there is an immediate opportunity to reduce the annual contribution to the Defined Benefit Plan. And for larger firms, there are also opportunities for cost control associated with self insuring the benefit program.

Additionally there is the positive financial impact of an effective wellness program, which does offer the prospect of control over benefit claims expense. Also consider a safety plan that reduces accidents and workers compensation costs. You would be surprised at how much money HR can save the firm by taking these factors into account. And if HR is not doing a good job of encouraging employees to sign up for and maxing out on 401(k) contributions, it is not doing a good job of saving payroll taxes for both the employees and the employer.

If HR is not able to contribute to ongoing cost containment then what is the value of having them around after the programs are designed and implemented? Consider the sales leader. If plans call for an increase in sales orders, an increase in market share, an increase in sales pricing, and an increase in profits, do they have much control over these factors. Don't they have to combat a series of forces that are working against them like the completion, unexpended changes in demand, conflicting market trends, unexpected consumer alternatives, etc. Yet in spite of these obstacles that interfere with control, the sales leader accepts the responsibility and moves forward. So too can HR.

I encourage you to give some thought to creating an environment where HR, Finance, and other departments work together to establish and achieve mutually shared objectives rather than take the position that someone else should set the objectives and there is simply a hand off for HR to implement

Friday, February 7, 2014

We may never agree post 2 of ?

The following is the response to my original comments
Sorry but do not agree with your response. HR is not responsible for Benefits or Compensation and does not own these expenses. Why do I say that?

Look at it this way. Who determines the headcount in each department? Who approves the compensation of each person and their earned bonus? HR? Not really.

Benefits are designed to meet a company goal/need. Once the designed is agreed to, the cost is not something HR has much control over. Can HR control benefits claims expense for medical plans? Nope. Can HR set the annual contribution to a Defined Benefit Plan? Nope. 401(k)? Nope.

HR's involvement these programs occurs when they are designed and implemented. After that the annual expenses is generally out of HR's control.

Alignment of HR to Finance (or any other department for that matter) can only occur at the Department Goals objective. Once Finance sets it goals for the year, (for example increasing or decreasing headcount), HR can implement plans that will support their objectives. And of course the Department Goals must be aligned with the Corporate Goals.

My next blog will document my retort. Stay tuned it gets more interesting....

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

We may never agree post 1 of ?

The following blog will tell a story. The story is real and is about the future of HR. I expect many to disagree with the story's lessons but you will have to wait until the story unfolds one day at a time. This blog is day one of the story. The introduction may seem boring and even innocuous, but you need to know where the story begins or you will miss the point.
1 Question
HR Department Alignment to PSFIN Department? How are you doing this? How are is reporting aligned?
 2. Response
I assume your referring to Public Service Financial departments and the HR department alignment. If that is the case here are two examples of alignment and how to report it.

1. Finance generally is responsible for the budget and HR is generally responsible for the single largest operating expense, benefits and compensation. Therefore there are a number of ways for finance and HR to collaborate on how to manage these expenses so that they become an investment and deliver an ROI. It would not be too difficult to construct a benchmark, set up an objective, measure the objective with metrics, graph progress, and establish a regular reporting and review process.

2. Finance generally allocates costs such as legal fees for employment claims to the department that incurred the charge. As a result, HR is not held accountable for these expenses and they should be, if HR is going to have an impact on the organization. HR and Finance can work out what I refer to as shared objectives so that multiple departments are held responsible for containing cost and all participants benefit when the predefined objectives are met.

Call me if I can be of further assistance.

Mike Salisbury Principal HRA 818 970 0730