Personalization of Employee Benefits

Talent that drives the success of a company is multi-generational. Working alongside each other are Baby Boomers, Gen X, Y (Millennials) and Z. Each generation brings its own talents and characteristics. They each have their own unique needs when it comes to employee benefits provided by the company. There is no one-size-fits-all to employee benefits which will meet the needs of all generations in this diverse workforce. 

To truly invest in their talent, an employer must carefully examine benefit options that appeal to all four generations in the workplace and offer benefits relevant to employees’ needs.  When a company offers personalized benefit options, the employer and employees both win. By meeting the varying needs of each group, a company’s personalized benefit package can help maximize its Employee Value Proposition (EVP). thrusting the company into the spotlight as an employer committed to meeting the needs of its talent and communicating that the company is a bona fide best place to work.

Employee Benefits and Compensation

Benefits and compensation can be complicated not only for employees but HR as well; however, personalizing benefits does not have to complicate the benefits process further.  Personalized benefits within the HR realm is the concept of providing benefits that employees want and actually use. This offers a way for a company to meet not only generational needs, but the needs of employees in different locations and professional levels. When employees have access to benefits that help them professionally and personally, this increases employee satisfaction and productivity leading to reduced turnover and increased profits.

Evolving from the one-size-fits-all to personalized benefits concepts takes time and communication.  Solicit feedback from employees as to what types of benefits they seek, and incorporate new benefits gradually to prevent employees, managers, and HR from becoming overwhelmed.  Benefit selection does not need to feel like walking down the bread aisle of a grocery store with hundreds of options. Start small, and grow slowly. 

Generational Employee Benefits

Each generation has its own needs. Research shows that mental health resources are a high priority for Gen Z. They completed their education through a global pandemic and have lived completely through the internet age so technology is native to them.  Accessing online and app-based healthcare, especially mental healthcare, is important to Gen Z. Gen X and Millennials are often caregivers for children and older family members so comprehensive, lower-premium health benefits that include dependents and live-in relatives are sought.  Boomers are exiting the workforce through retirement so their needs are shifting.  While working, they seek benefits that are focused on prevention. Screenings and annual checkups are important as they try to mitigate the onset of health issues before retirement. 

Non-Health Related Benefits

For all four generations, do not underestimate the desire for non-health related benefits.  Financial management, retirement guidance and professional development benefits are highly sought after as well.  AFLAC reports that 80% of individuals surveyed want support and guidance on personal finances for daily life in addition to retirement planning assistance. By having company provided financial advisors accessible to employees, employees have the opportunity to plan for tomorrow while living within their means today.

Helping employees invest and budget their wages can guide them to more effectively spend and save their money instead of feeling like they are not meeting their financial needs.  If an employee does not feel they are making ends meet with their current wages, they will look elsewhere.  Reduce turnover by providing financial advisors who can show employees how to effectively spend and save instead. By offering company sponsored financial advisement, employees do not have to pay for those services which saves them money, and employers have a higher likelihood of employee retention when employees see how to stretch and save each dollar.   

Expense Allowance

One of the most common ways to personalize benefits is to provide employees with a monthly or annual expense allowance. It can be in the form of employee reimbursements or expense (debit-style) cards.  Most people are familiar with the concept of Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). These are used typically for co-pays, approved prescription or OTC drugs, and medical devices. To promote benefit personalization, some employers are incorporating Lifestyle Spending Accounts (LSAs). These can be used for child or elder care, fitness and wellness programs. as well as other items typically not covered with a FSA or Health Savings Account (HSA).

LSAs can have parameters of use set by the employer. However, make sure those parameters will meet the needs of the employees while reaffirming the company’s values and ethics. Gym memberships, home workout equipment, organic food, social events, and relaxation opportunities (i.e. hobbies like reading, travel, etc.) are highly desired benefits that could be considered within a LSA. Although many roles have shifted to remote or hybrid, not all have. Commuter benefit plans help people pay mass transit or parking costs.  

Conclusion

No matter the benefit package, HR’s efforts to promote benefit use are essential. While it is the employee’s responsibility to know what benefits they have, employees appreciate the opportunity to have HR personnel as a resource. They can help them navigate questions and benefit use.  HR can send messages via email and text to employees about available benefits that employees might not be using. As well as provide general information and links to access the service. Host quarterly Q/A meetings with employees to remind them about available benefits. Also to get feedback on the current benefits offered to plan for next year.  Collect feedback through surveys and small focus groups to find out what benefits employees seek that are not currently offered by the company.

Send reminders to employees periodically through the year to remind them to use their FSA money before the deadline and include lists of approved ways to spend FSA funds. Promote telehealth visits for time and money savings. Telehealth can reduce costly urgent care and ER visits. They can also reduce absenteeism with the convenience of not having to take off work for a doctor’s appointment. 

Personalized benefits focus on the person. Each employee is a person with personal and professional needs and a desire to fulfill them.  When a company offers personalized benefits that are aligned with their employees’ needs. Employees witness a commitment by the employer to the wellbeing of employees. Employees and employers both are in an aggressive fight with rising costs and inflation. However, personalized benefits can offer a way for employees and employers to fight that fight together where each entity becomes stronger together in the long run.

 

Photo by FlyD on Unsplash

HR Strategies for a Pandemic

We have heard the old saying, “Hindsight is 20/20”. How accurate! It is easier to see clearer after a situation has passed. With careful and fervent thought, we ruminate on what we could have done differently. As well as what actually worked during times of trial and success. The year 2020 ignited chaos into the global market with the insurgence of the COVID pandemic.  HR professionals are ultimately championed to be crisis management experts; however, when COVID stormed the world, there was no end date to the chaos.  No explicit best practices on what to do when the world shutdown existed. 

By applying 20/20 hindsight from what happened in 2020, HR professionals are better prepared and continue to craft and modify plans to prepare for when, not if, the next global emergency manifests. Using knowledge acquired from experience. HR professionals must work with employees at all levels to compose and implement fluid preparation plans in times of global crisis. This way they can diligently plan for the worst while hoping for the best.  

 

The magnitude of the global pandemic took people by storm. The “normal” work culture no longer had a definition. Expectations of employees pivoted. While health issues resulting from COVID cannot be downplayed, the lingering effects of the pandemic on business operations cannot be ignored either as the pandemic disrupted global business. Here are three key areas of focus for HR professionals in a post-pandemic world:

 

Flexibility in Pandemic Situations

 

Prior to the pandemic, a typical workday for some employees might have been 9 – 5 like the legendary song. That changed in 2020.  The global pandemic redefined flexibility. Flexibility did not only mean working from home. It also meant how employees worked, when they completed their tasks and who was around when they worked.  People worked at home with partners, children and pets. Parents had to juggle work with children’s e-learning in addition to caring for family members.  By the force of nature, companies redefined flexibility to include parameters that were rarely supported, much less considered, by company leadership.     

Lessons Learned:  

Organizations learned that many roles could be completed successfully outside the office. Trusting that employees will get the job done and done well no matter the work environment will help retain essential talent.  HR became champions for company talent by advocating for flexible work arrangements to remain post-COVID for roles that can support it.  For some roles, does it really matter if the employee takes time in the middle of the day to take a walk, run an errand, or go to a child’s activity if the person is doing their job well and performing at or above expectations? 

Flexibility does not mean eliminating deadlines and giving an employee free reign to do whatever they want. It means establishing and communicating clearly defined parameters of job expectations and validating that employees and management understand those expectations. Empower employees to complete work tasks outside the traditional business hours if necessary to help maintain work-life balance and prevent employee burnout. Employees who feel supported during difficult times are more likely to remain loyal and stay with the company. 

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Communication Is Important in a Pandemic

 

HR balances operations with engagement. People need to be paid. Benefits need to be applied. Jobs need to be filled.  In companies of all sizes, it can be cumbersome for HR professionals to talk with every single employee. (Yes, talk, as in having a verbal conversation.)  During times of crisis, stress magnifies internally and externally for individuals. The pandemic generated a sense of fear and uncertainty in most people. Employees’ minds resonated with “what ifs” related to their professional and personal lives fostering anxiety. Temperature checks (AKA finding out how employees really were feeling) changed from being a “would like to do” to a “must do” for HR teams.  The need to establish and maintain human connection was at an all time high so HR had to be creative and develop ways to support the company’s greatest asset – their people. 

 

Lessons Learned:

HR must spearhead a way to deliver clear and concise communication to employees wherever they are located. To mitigate fears and incorrect information, HR must have various channels and methods in place to deliver timely updates. This reduces employees’ fears and limit gossip. If a conversation cannot be held face to face, use live or recorded video instead of emails when applicable. This can help make the message more personal. HR must establish a communication chain with employees who are trained in delivering communication in times of crisis and who understand their specific role in delivering information. External stakeholders must have their communication support as well. Customers need to know if services or products will be delayed. Having candid and honest conversations between HR and stakeholders will help strengthen trust and provide opportunities to strategize together to mitigate business upheavals. 

 

Developing a communication plan to check in with all employees is essential to their mental wellbeing and productivity in a pandemic.  For some small businesses, it might be possible for an HR team to check in with all their employees; however, that is unlikely for most companies. HR must instill the importance of consistent conversations between HR, managers, and employees to share their fears, successes and complaints without fears of retribution. Pandemics magnify stress so providing a listening ear and offering support will help employees handle the challenges.

Employees at all levels should have access to Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) where they can communicate difficulties in a confidential environment without fear of ridicule or repercussions. Group activities (i.e. book clubs, training sessions, gaming, etc.)  and virtual social hours in times of crisis can connect employees when there is a face-to-face disconnect. Ask employees what they need so they feel connected and safe, and incorporate their suggestions as best as possible.  

 

Technology Can Help in Pandemics

 

People were forced into finding alternate ways to communicate. Face-to-face conversations were muted and replaced with conversations behind masks and computer monitors. Finding software to support communication through video, chat and text became an instantaneous priority. In the mix of hiring freezes, downsizing and turnover, HR still maintained their efforts to recruit, hire and onboard essential talent. However, it had to take a different approach to make themselves stand out amongst their competitors. Paper approaches became even more inefficient as people were not readily able to complete job applications and new hire forms. Many HR professionals could not go “pull the file” quickly to access info.  Having information accessible to employees and HR staff in multiple locations became necessary during the pandemic.

 

Lessons Learned:

Although many people now feel like seasoned professionals with video conferencing software, train employees how to use essential technology. Coach employees on video and chat etiquette. Although companies have been using email for years, it can be challenging to detect tone in emails and texts.  Help employees, especially in stressful times, to read messages carefully and without predisposition to negativity. Some people are very formal in their messages while others incorporate humor and slang. If there are questions or concerns about the way a message is conveyed, pick up the phone and have an old-fashioned phone call to get more information. 

 

Investing in the right technology can save time and money. Automating the hiring process does not eliminate the personal aspect; it can increase it by giving HR more time to focus on people instead of paper. Use cloud based employment software like an Applicant Tracking System and Onboarding System increases efficiency.  Employees can access what they need wherever they are. Video interviewing and scheduling tools within an ATS simplify recruiting.  Automating document collection within an onboarding system reduces cost and saves time allowing HR to focus on creating the interpersonal connection between employees and the company. Ensure the software service provider is friendly, knowledgeable and receptive to the company’s needs.  Having a domestic based support team that is receptive to the company’s needs is essential. Let the provider do the heavy lifting of software maintenance and support. 

Conclusion

Too often, HR is portrayed only as the “policy and procedure” department. The heart of Human Resources centers on the humans in which they lead.  While policies and procedures are essential to safety and maintaining order, they also provide direction within an organization.  HR professionals can take what has been learned from the pandemic in 2020 and apply that knowledge to prepare for the next global crisis. Creating multiple plans, and knowing that the need to adjust those plans will inevitably occur, is a start. The past four years have been challenging for everyone. Taking what we have learned and strategizing to protect a company’s employees and business practices is time well spent.

 

Learn more about how ExactHire can help you with crisis management through our software and Full Service Hiring solutions, visit https://www.exacthire.com/ or call 317.296.8000. 

Sustainability in your HR Practices

Sustainability. Merriam-Webster defines sustain as “trying to keep up or prolong”, and ability as the “means or skill to do something” so we can conclude that sustainability means having the skill to keep an activity going.  Now, let’s add the word corporate in front of sustainabilityCorporate sustainability – what does that mean to you? Corporate sustainability is not a token term. It is becoming a driving force in the work culture of many organizations and a key concept sought after by many job seekers. Corporate sustainability is the concept that will differentiate companies and give them a competitive edge while helping to preserve our planet so the needs of future generations can be met.

 

Human Resources personnel is the driving force of interpersonal operations within a company of any size.  They are tasked with maintaining the communication balance within an organization and drive cultural initiatives. Here are five key ways Human Resources can promote company sustainability initiatives.  

 

Communicate the importance of sustainability

Creating and promoting positive change must begin at the top and work down, but Human Resources will be tasked with communicating the importance of sustainability. Senior leadership and Human Resources must work collaboratively to communicate the value of sustainability and reassure employees that green initiatives will be more beneficial than cumbersome. Communicate sustainability practices on social media and the company’s website to promote positive company branding. 

Clearly defined messages of what the company is doing to promote sustainability and why it is important must be delivered in different communication formats. Workshops and training sessions to explain the company’s efforts. As well as what each employee must do to achieve established sustainability goals will help communicate the message in a consistent manner. HR can facilitate small focus groups of employees to further strategize and spearhead company established green initiatives. Team building will help employees better understand company sustainability initiatives. It will also provide an opportunity to assimilate those initiatives into daily culture instead of an ordinary task to complete.  Progress begins with change, and all employees make a difference.

 

Save the trees. Go paperless.

Job applications, new hire paperwork, assessment results…so many facets of the employment process are still being completed with paper. Did you know that:

  • The U.S. uses about 30% of the global paper supply although it accounts for only 4.25% of the world’s population.
  • The average person in the U.S. uses more than 700 pounds of paper every year.
  • U.S offices use 12.1 trillion sheets of paper a year.
  • Paper accounts for around 26% of landfill waste.
  • 93% of paper comes from trees.
  • It takes nearly 47 gallons of water per ream of paper.
  • Reducing paper use reduces greenhouse gasses – 40 reams of paper is equivalent to 1.5 acres of a pine forest absorbing carbon for a year.

HR professionals are inundated with personal details of employees that must be kept confidential and secure.  Collecting paper applications and having employee data on paper is risky. Papers with employee data can get lost, be seen by unauthorized people and can get misfiled where access is unknown or unrestricted. Keep private details private by using cloud based employment software. SaaS (Software as a Service) offers no software installation on servers. The software provider does the heavy lifting – training, support, and upgrades – so employees can do the job they are supposed to. Stop using paper, and go paperless in the company’s employment processes.  Recruit using a robust Applicant Tracking System (ATS), onboard and communicate with employees using an intuitive Onboarding System and conduct Employee Assessments to evaluate employees’ skills all electronically. Going paperless saves time, money and offers a heightened level of security that paper cannot.   

 

Onsite versus Offsite

Remote and hybrid work schedules reduce emissions as compared with the daily drive to and from work. Human Resources professionals need to explore the financial and environmental impacts of flexible work arrangements and scheduling.  Evaluate if some roles can be completed in a four day week compared to a five day week to reduce commute time.  Examine the amount of domestic and international travel that needs to occur. Do employees really need to travel to another location for certain meetings? Can the message and collaboration occur with technology instead where travel is unneeded?  Remote and hybrid work schedules will not be conducive for all industries (ex. healthcare, manufacturing, and K-12 education), but it can work for many roles. This was proven when employees in many fields were forced to work from home due to COVID. 

 

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle (3R)

Look around within the company.  How quickly are items thrown away without a second thought?  Approximately 40% of all food in the U.S. goes into the trash taking second place to paper products. Every hour in the U.S., 2.5 million plastic bottles are tossed into the trash. Convenience today is not helping tomorrow. HR is intuitive of the work culture and can be leaders in the 3R initiative.

HR professionals are finding ways to cut costs by implementing sustainable practices. Reduce or eliminate the use of “disposable” cups in the break area and fill the areas with reusable items. Create a company food compost area to prevent food waste.  Have designated areas for recycling plastics, paper, cardboard, equipment and metals. Offer buybacks with gift cards or extra time off when employees recycle.  Track the company’s cost savings and environmental impact and share the data with employees to validate their efforts are saving money and advancing the sustainability mission.

 

Choose suppliers that are promoting sustainability

Knowledge is power. Find out what your company’s suppliers are doing. Are they minimizing waste and attempting to reduce emissions?  Does the supplier conduct internal audits to seek ways to be more sustainable?  How are materials procured? Is the vendor following fair-trade and cultural laws against child labor and paying fair wages to employees? Knowing the answer to suppliers’ internal and external practices can have a positive influence on the company’s financial and brand statuses. If your company is preaching sustainability, but purchasing from vendors who do not adhere to the same principles your company has communicated, it will take a lot to convince customers and job seekers that you practice what you preach which can result in a loss of money and talent. 

Company goals for the next year, five years and even ten years will pass in a blink of an eye. While it is important for a company to be profitable, leadership must take initiative to explore and implement sustainable practices to do their part in helping future generations grow and succeed to ensure longevity.  Contact ExactHire to learn more about our Applicant Tracking System (ATS), Onboarding System and  Employee Assessments to support your organization in your paperless initiatives towards sustainable practices.

Enhancing Employee Retention: HR Practices for the Modern Workplace

In an era where talent is a pivotal asset for any organization, employee retention emerges as a critical challenge for human resources (HR) professionals. With the dynamic nature of today’s work environment, retaining top talent requires more than just competitive salaries; it necessitates a holistic approach that addresses various facets of employee satisfaction and engagement. This blog post delves into strategic HR practices that can significantly enhance employee retention, thereby fostering a thriving and sustainable workplace.

Understanding the Importance of Employee Retention

Employee retention is essential for maintaining organizational knowledge, sustaining productivity, and fostering a positive workplace culture. High turnover rates not only incur direct costs related to recruiting and training new hires but also impact team morale and the overall performance of the organization. Therefore, implementing effective retention strategies is paramount for HR professionals aiming to build a resilient and competitive business.

Comprehensive Onboarding Process

A robust onboarding process lays the foundation for a long-term relationship between employees and the organization. An effective onboarding program extends beyond the first week of employment, encompassing mentorship programs, ongoing training opportunities, and regular check-ins. These initiatives help new hires assimilate into the company culture, understand their role and expectations, and build meaningful connections within the team.

Career Development and Growth Opportunities

Employees today are increasingly looking for roles that offer personal and professional growth. HR departments can foster retention by creating clear career pathways, offering continuous learning opportunities, and supporting lateral moves within the organization that allow employees to explore different roles and departments. Encouraging professional development not only keeps employees engaged but also ensures the organization develops a skilled and versatile workforce.

Competitive Compensation and Benefits

While not the sole factor, compensation and benefits remain crucial to employee retention. Regular market analysis to ensure competitive salary offerings, alongside comprehensive benefits packages that address health, retirement, work-life balance, and employee wellness, can significantly enhance job satisfaction and loyalty. Tailoring benefits to meet the diverse needs of your workforce can also set your organization apart as an employer of choice.

Foster a Positive Company Culture

A positive company culture, characterized by open communication, mutual respect, and recognition, plays a vital role in employee retention. Cultivating an environment where employees feel valued and heard encourages commitment and reduces turnover. HR can lead initiatives that promote team bonding, celebrate achievements, and facilitate a supportive and inclusive workplace.

Employee Retention through Engagement and Feedback

Engaged employees are more likely to stay with an organization. Regular engagement surveys, suggestion boxes, and feedback mechanisms enable HR to gauge employee sentiment and identify areas for improvement. Acting on feedback demonstrates to employees that their opinions matter and can lead to meaningful changes in the workplace. Additionally, involving employees in decision-making processes can increase their sense of ownership and commitment to the organization.

Work-Life Balance and Flexibility

The modern workforce values flexibility and a healthy work-life balance. Flexible working arrangements, such as remote work options, flexible hours, and part-time opportunities, can significantly contribute to employee retention. By accommodating the varying personal needs of employees, organizations can foster a more satisfied and productive workforce.

Recognize and Reward Contributions

Recognition and rewards are powerful tools for reinforcing positive behavior and contributions. Whether through formal reward programs, performance bonuses, or simple gestures of appreciation, acknowledging employees’ efforts boosts morale and encourages loyalty. Personalized recognition strategies that reflect the unique achievements and contributions of individuals can be particularly effective.

Conclusion

Employee retention is a multifaceted challenge that requires a strategic and proactive approach from HR professionals. By investing in comprehensive onboarding, promoting career development, ensuring competitive compensation, fostering a positive culture, engaging employees, offering flexibility, and recognizing contributions, organizations can significantly enhance their retention rates. These practices not only contribute to a more stable and motivated workforce but also support the long-term success and competitiveness of the business. In the quest to retain top talent, it’s clear that a holistic approach, centered on the well-being and growth of employees, is key to creating a thriving and sustainable workplace.

Optimizing HR practices for employee retention is not just a strategic imperative but a competitive advantage in today’s dynamic business environment. By focusing on the needs and aspirations of employees, HR can lead the way in building resilient, engaged, and committed teams ready to drive the organization forward.

 

The Impact of Gen Z in the Workplace

Looking to attract the next generation of talent? Then it might be time to use up to date, proven effective methods of hiring. An ATS, specifically ExactHire ATS is the perfect place to start. With ability to post to thousands of job boards, write accurate job descriptions, QR code applications and text recruiting you’ll be able to target and find the most qualified candidates out there.

Human Resources professionals are considered the unifying beacon for employees within an organization. Successful companies encompass a variety of talent and include workers from each generation to share knowledge and experience, all with differing perspectives.  Boomers are retiring, and some Gen X are strategically planning for retirement.  Over the next decade, there will be a loss of intellectual talent through retirements in those two generational categories alone.  Millennials are developing their careers helping to bridge the loss of Boomers in the workforce, but Millennials alone can’t fill the rapidly growing anticipated number of Boomer and Gen X vacancies. This is where Gen Z becomes the final puzzle piece to companies’ desire for productive talent. By 2025, it is anticipated that 30% of the workforce will be composed of Gen Z workers. Let’s learn more about this group of workers and how Human Resources and companies can support Gen Z talent to ensure success.

Who Makes us Gen Z?

People born from 1997 to 2012 are classified as Gen Z.  What makes Gen Z so different compared to other generations?  For starters, this group of people grew up completely in the Internet age so technology is a concept they have observed during their whole lifetime. The learning curve of technology does not exist, and Gen Z is often called “Zoomers” for a reason.  Members of this generation like to “see” who they are working with, even if it is through video software. Gen Z is the most diverse generation, and here are some key data points shared by the World Economic Forum:

  • 48% of Gen Zers are from Black or minority ethnic backgrounds 
  • 1 in 6 individuals identify as LGBTQIA+. 

 

Why do those stats matter? Here’s why:  Gen Zers seek work cultures that are welcoming to everyone.  

  • 1 in 2 Gen Zers won’t work in a place without diverse leadership
  • 68% of Gen Zers say their employer is not doing enough to build a diverse workplace

 

While Gen Z can be personified as diverse and inclusive, it can also be portrayed as “entitled” by critics. But are they really “entitled”, or are Gen Zers opening people’s eyes to change? Gen Z had a substantial chunk of their high school and/or post-high school education redefined by COVID. Remote learning and video conferencing were part of their daily routine so it can be a challenge for Gen Zers to understand why some organizations do not support remote or hybrid workstyles when Gen Zers completed their learning tasks in that matter. 70% will choose a hybrid job over one that is not according to the World Economic Forum

What Motivates Gen Z?

They’ve got money on their mind.  Forbes reports that 46% of Gen Zers listed salary as the driving factor when accepting a job. Gen Zers are not only supporting themselves, but many are helping support their parents with recession concerns and skyrocketing inflation.  Living independently is a challenge due to high housing costs. Ultimately, to offset all the rising expenses, Gen Zers seek jobs that pay well from the start. Gen Zers seek progression…career progression.  Companies need to ignite Gen Zers internal fire to work hard and achieve the attainable goal of earning leadership promotions and compensatory pay for their stellar performance. The work hard/play hard concept exists as long as it is mutually profitable.  

 

While salary is a high priority, work-life balance appears to be even higher.  Gen Zers seek work to fit around their personal life.  According to Forbes, 40% of Gen Zers consider flexible hours and workdays as a deal-breaker when evaluating a job offer. Seventy-five percent of those surveyed would prefer a job that offered full flexibility over one with a high salary. Companies need to take heed…if flexibility is not an option within the company culture, the result will be a loss of a substantial amount of Gen Z talent. Is a lack of a flexible work arrangement worth losing a pipeline of talent?

Mental Health

Mental health resources is an essential component of a Gen Zer’s employee value proposition (EVP).  The global pandemic increased mental health issues for people of all ages; however, Gen Z feels the effects more overall.  Multiple studies show approximately one in three Gen Zers feel that they are struggling with mental health issues. Companies must provide mental health resources for Gen Zers and encourage the use of those resources to employees of all generations without shaming.  Social connections are integral; COVID decimated social opportunities for this generation so many Gen Zers are eager to connect with others. Team and whole company events and outside of work service volunteers help Gen Zers fulfill their social needs and develop a work camaraderie. 

Positives Attributes of Gen Z

Gen Zers have many positive attributes.  This generation is highly driven and motivated to succeed.  They are socially aware due to its diverse nature and understand the importance of having all individuals contribute to the common goal.  Seventy-seven percent of Gen Zers want to work for a company whose values align with their own.  Gen Zers want to know that the company that they work for is making a positive influence internally and externally. Companies need to communicate the philanthropic causes and efforts supported by leadership and its employees.  Social causes and positive change are important to Gen Zers so companies need to provide opportunities for Gen Zers to make a difference by volunteering in community support and outreach events.  A company’s mission and vision are integral to a Gen Zer when applying for a role.  

Conclusion

To attract Gen Z candidates, make sure your job listings on your applicant tracking system (ATS) are written to include key content they want to know about the job before applying:  What will this job pay? What benefits exist that meet my needs? Is this role onsite, hybrid or remote?  What flexible work options exist? How will this job positively impact the community?  If your organization is unsure how to write job listings to attract Gen Zers, let ExactHire do the heavy lifting for you through our Full Service Hiring.  Knowing how to attract Gen Zers will help organizations find knowledgeable talent that is eager to commit to an organization that commits to them.  Don’t miss out on a generation that seeks to make a difference!

Data Privacy and Employee Surveillance

Remote work presents a litany of challenges for an organization. One of those being how the organization handles data privacy. Another is the unique challenges of remote hiring. To circumvent these issues utilize ExactHire’s Full Service Hiring service. We will send out job advertisements, source candidates, interview candidates, and finally present to you the final best options for the position for you to make your hiring decision.

Data Privacy

Privacy is a concept that is hard to find and fleeting to define in our evolving world. The average employee will spend over 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime. We are constantly connected through devices. People’s professional and personal lives blend in many roles. Particularly for salary employees who often respond to work needs at all hours of the day. The pandemic rapidly shifted many employees to fully remote or hybrid roles where work has been successfully completed outside the company workspace.

Many remote and hybrid employees are enjoying their new office environment in the comforts of their home or while traveling. With the dramatic shift in work environments, that has led to some companies developing heightened concerns about their employees’ actions and efficiency.  Companies are in the midst of conundrum on how to validate that employees, both onsite and remote, are ethical and using work time to perform work specific tasks while recognizing that employees are humans who have to balance work with personal life and seek work autonomy. 

Reasons For Monitoring Data

Companies express that they have bona fide reasons to monitor onsite and remote employees. Many jobs require the use of social media platforms. However managers want to know that their employees are performing their tasks and not scrolling social media for non-work related reasons. They want to know that employees are not sharing confidential information with unauthorized people.  Also, concerns of workplace harassment and violence fuel managers’ concern to identify potentially volatile situations. Content from data monitoring can also be used in legal proceedings. The argument exists that employee surveillance is a way to mitigate risk. It can, but potentially at a cost.      

How to Monitor Employee Data

Employee surveillance can occur in a multitude of ways.  The most commonly known example is video recording within the public spaces of the work environment. Laws exist to prevent the use of cameras in private places, such as restrooms and locker rooms. State laws vary to the definition of locations and scope of camera use. With the increase of remote work, monitoring software can be downloaded onto electronic devices to monitor employees’ activities on their laptops and phones. Device GPS features can identify where an employee is located as well.       

Reasons For and Against Data Privacy

While employee surveillance can potentially mitigate risk and loss of productivity and profit, it can also be a catalyst for a loss of productivity and profit.  Employees have bona fide reasons to dislike employee surveillance. Keystroke and website monitoring software will track employees’ actions within their devices. Time management software can calculate active and idle time, but what defines active and idle? Maybe that employee who is listed as “idle” is having a phone conversation with a customer or coworker. That person could be reviewing a book or other non-electronic resource for a work task.

Many employees feel that they are not trusted to do the tasks of the role in which they were hired when monitoring controls are implemented.  If employees complete a task too quickly, then they can be questioned about what they do in their downtime. If they take too long to complete a task, the employees’ abilities could be questioned. It is inevitable for an employee at any level not to have a need to address a personal matter during the day.  Will that employee be penalized if they take a moment to order a birthday gift online or schedule an appointment?  The possibility exists especially if a company does not have a clearly defined policy itemizing expectations and purposes of employee data monitoring. 

Federal Laws for Monitoring Data

Before crafting or amending a company policy on employee data privacy and surveillance, it is important to be aware of federal and state legislation regarding these concepts. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (ECPA) is a federal law that specifically addresses monitoring of electronic communications in the workplace. Within this legislation, the “business purpose exception” allows employers to monitor oral and electronic communications provided the company can validate a legitimate business purpose for doing so.

This legislation establishes minimum restrictions. Keep in mind that states can create more restrictive legislation. So if your organization hires in different states or countries, it is essential to know the established laws for those areas.  Unionized companies in particular must be cognizant that workplace recording typically is agreed upon in collective bargaining discussions before monitoring is implemented. If monitoring occurs without being approved by union stewards, the company could face repercussions. ExactHire does not provide legal counsel. So consult with your company’s legal team regarding data privacy and employment surveillance policies or plans for your organization. 

Honesty in the Workplace

Honesty is the best policy. So is having a data privacy and employee surveillance policy which is communicated and understood by all employees. Companies need to be forthcoming with their employees so employees understand what information is being collected and why. Employers need to create a data privacy and employee surveillance policy for employees that outlines key items. These include what is being monitored and when, what is prohibited use, what will happen if violations occur, how will employees’ data be used and stored for starting points.

Include company specific needs in the policy also. Solicit feedback from management and employees to understand differing perspectives. Once a policy is created internally, the company’s legal team should examine the content. Ensure it adheres to all federal, state, and applicable international laws. All employees should be informed about the data privacy and employee surveillance policy in a consistent way and educated on the company’s expectations and repercussions as outlined in the policy. Employees should be given ample opportunities to ask questions and seek clarification of the final policy before signing. Whether the policy is electronically or physically signed, ensure the policy is housed securely in the employee’s file within the company’s onboarding platform.    

Conclusion

Transparency is important. Companies need to be forthcoming with employees that they are being monitored and for what purpose. Clearly explaining what data is being collected and how it will be used by the company. This is essential in maintaining trust between employees and management. If an employee feels as if their performance and/or integrity are being questioned or challenged by the people who trust them to do their role, that employee is going to start exploring other professional opportunities. Some turnover will inevitably occur as data monitoring increases within a company. However, a company cannot afford to lose key talent by projecting a “Big Brother” constantly over-the-shoulder persona.  It is hard to move forward if talent is consistently looking over their shoulders.

Upskilling and Reskilling Strategies

Upskilling and reskilling strategies help promote from within, but what about growing companies that need more talent? Check out ExactHire ATS or our Full Service Hiring solution to improve your hiring as soon as today!

Companies are healing from nearly four years of a global pandemic that brought turmoil, uncertainty, and financial hardships. Supply chain issues have improved in certain sectors, but high interest rates and increasing costs of supplies, compounded with ongoing talent acquisition challenges, still lead to challenging times for companies and Human Resources departments. 

Retaining talent can be a challenge, especially when companies evolve internally to maintain or leverage a competitive stance against their company counterparts. For companies to combat the shift from the “maturity” stage into the “decline” stage in the product lifecycle process, foresight and adaptability are essential to survival.  HR leaders need to proactively look ahead to anticipated trends and prepare for unanticipated changes in the organization.

This can start with reviewing a the driving force behind the company’s future – its talent. Upskilling and reskilling employees will craft a competitive edge in an ever-changing global market.  

An Evolving Workspace

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), major changes are anticipated in the workplace, not only for large scale businesses, but small and medium businesses as well.  In general, the WEF estimates that by 2025, 50% of all employees will need reskilling due to new technology. Think back to five years ago…how many leaders were planning, much less talking, about prepping for a global pandemic and record numbers of employees who resigned from their roles? Not enough. Change is inevitable, and it is crucial that HR departments and company leadership support its internal talent as change continuously cycles. 

As company products and service offerings evolve, internal disruptions will occur. Current employees who have extensive skills and cultural knowledge will need additional support. Instead of eliminating expiring and outdated positions resulting in a loss of skilled talent and cultural fit, companies can realign productive existing employees by molding them into evolving roles with proper support and guidance. Companies cannot afford to lose talent to their competitors.  As roles and tasks change within an organization, companies must do what they can to maintain a competitive advantage. This is where upskilling and reskilling are essential. 

Upskilling and Reskilling

Although the premise of skill-changing occurs with both upskilling and reskilling, they are not the same concepts.  Upskilling is providing the opportunity for employees to learn new skills for their roles when taking on additional responsibilities. Upskilling might or might not be the result of a promotion. Often, it can result from a promotion; however, upskilling can result from the elimination of another position where the duties of that discontinued role are divided between existing employees who maintain their same roles.

Reskilling is providing the opportunity for employees to learn new skills in order to perform a different job. These newly acquired skills are typically outside of the worker’s existing skill sets. Often, reskilling occurs when manual tasks become automated. Reskilling has a tendency to be a cost-saver; providing supplemental training on new skills saves the company money compared to the time and cost to recruit, screen, hire and onboard a new person. 

Both upskilling and reskilling are essential in today’s work culture, especially as technology tools develop at quick rates.  Learning opportunities through upskilling and reskilling are a time and financial investment with high returns. Here are ways for HR and company leaders to integrate upskilling and reskilling in their culture:

Create a Career Pathing Plan

Managers and employees need to communicate with each other to identify employees’ strengths and areas for growth. This will allow them to work together to craft a long-range career plan. Managers need to ask probing questions to employees to determine short-term and long-term employee goals and communicate how those goals co-exist with the direction of the company and global market.  Employees need to share their career goals and performance vision with managers to see where their goals align with the company’s needs and where modifications must occur.  Create a learning plan for employees, and track your employees’ progress within the company’s onboarding platform.  OnboardCentric offers the ability to link training videos and learning materialEmployee assessments are another way to assess skills. Use employee assessment results to chart a course of future progression for employees to help them increase their contribution to the success of the company.  

Connect with Education Providers

Training needs to be relevant and convenient for employees who are already methodically balancing work and life requirements. Identify different methods of training and offer alternative options to employees. Some employees prefer face-to-face instruction while others prefer to go at their own pace via online resources.  Training delivery needs to be incorporated during the workday for hourly and salary employees. This promotes a work-life balance and to adhere to company and legal pay and related guidelines. Many universities bring technical, soft skills and hard skill training onsite to the company as an alternative to traditional credit-based coursework at a learning institution. 

Keep in mind, not all training must lead to an academic degree; certain roles might require a particular licensure or certification while some employees can benefit from brief learning modules. Reputable online platforms such as Khan Academy, Coursera, Udemy, and LinkedIn Learning offer convenient learning tools. Khan Academy, while geared more towards K-12 education, offers free programming learning modules focused on CSS, HTML, SQL, JavaScript and Python. Also, for native and immigrant workers who need additional support in language and math, resources of the sort can help with refining and attaining core skills to bridge existing gaps.

Develop a Mentorship Program

Upskilling and reskilling does not necessarily have to occur through formal coursework or training sessions. It can occur in the transfer of knowledge from one employee to another. Seasoned employees possessing specific skill sets and cultural knowledge offer a wealth of knowledge that can be lost with retirement or company departure. Transferring knowledge through a mentorship program yields a myriad of benefits.

A mentor and the mentee can develop a strong bond where questions and answers are confidently asked and answered without the fear of ridicule or looking ignorant in front of peers.  A mentor shares their wisdom about what works and what does not work which keeps knowledge retained within the organization. A mentee can ask questions to the mentor about processes and procedures that could lead to positive change because the mentee brings new perceptions and approaches about existing tasks and goals. From any angle, a mentorship program is a catalyst in upskilling and reskilling employees. 

Incentivize Upskilling and Reskilling

Although money is a highly desired incentive by many people, money is not the only incentive that is rewarding. When seeking to incentive upskilling and reskilling, find out what is important to employees. Added job security and/or promotions can be incentives. As employees upskill or reskill, companies can provide monetary rewards through bonuses and pay increases. Tangible rewards such as company swag and gift cards are popular options. No matter the type of incentive offered to employees, it is crucial for company leadership to publicly acknowledge employees’ successes and efforts. Employees want to know their hard work and additional efforts are known to others and especially appreciated. Ultimately, an incentive is an appreciation tool so find what motivates employees and use those motivators as incentives.

Upskilling and reskilling employees shows a bona fide commitment to employees by the organization. Employees feel valued and possess a sense of belonging. They appreciate knowing their talents and skills are appreciated in addition to knowing that companies value employees’ contributions. By creating a positive employee morale, it helps establish a positive work culture leading to higher employee satisfaction and retention rates. Employees who have the ability to learn new skills on the job tend to stay with the organization longer. Upskilling and reskilling is an investment in employees that will produce a positive return for companies.

The Future of Workforce Management

Introduction

Workforce Management can be a tricky and tedious activity for some companies. An ATS can help greatly by organizing and streamlining your application and hiring process. If you are looking for a best-in-class ATS, then check out ExactHire ATS and schedule a demo today!

In the ever-evolving landscape of the corporate world, HR data analytics and predictive modeling have emerged as pivotal tools in shaping the future of workforce management. As we venture further into 2024, the reliance on data-driven decision-making has become more pronounced, revolutionizing the way human resources departments operate. This blog post delves into the significance of these technologies and how they are transforming HR practices.

The Emergence of HR Data Analytics in Workforce Management

HR data analytics involves the systematic analysis of data sets related to employee performance, recruitment, retention, and more. It’s a practice that has gradually evolved from traditional, intuitive decision-making to a more evidence-based approach. By leveraging data, HR professionals can uncover invaluable insights into employee behaviors, trends, and patterns, leading to more informed and strategic decision-making.

Predictive Modeling for Workforce Management

Predictive modeling takes this a step further. It uses statistical techniques and machine learning algorithms to forecast future HR-related outcomes based on historical data. This predictive approach is particularly effective in areas like talent acquisition, employee turnover, and performance management. By predicting future trends and behaviors, organizations can proactively address potential challenges, thereby enhancing efficiency and productivity.

Transforming Recruitment and Talent Acquisition

One of the most significant impacts of HR data analytics and predictive modeling is seen in the realm of recruitment. By analyzing past recruitment data and market trends, HR teams can identify the qualities of top-performing employees. This insight enables them to refine their hiring processes, target the right candidates, and reduce the time and cost associated with talent acquisition.

Moreover, predictive models can forecast future staffing needs, helping organizations to anticipate and plan for hiring surges or talent shortages. This forward-thinking approach ensures that businesses are always prepared with the right workforce to meet their evolving needs.

Enhancing Employee Retention Strategies

Employee turnover is a costly and disruptive challenge for many organizations. Data analytics provides HR teams with the tools to identify patterns and predictors of employee turnover. By understanding the factors that contribute to employee dissatisfaction, HR can develop targeted retention strategies, such as enhanced career development opportunities or improved work-life balance initiatives.

Predictive modeling takes this a step further by identifying which employees are at risk of leaving the company. This allows HR professionals to proactively engage with these employees, address their concerns, and improve retention rates.

 

 

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Optimizing Performance Management

Performance management is another area where HR data Analytics and predictive modeling are making significant strides. By analyzing performance data, HR can identify the drivers of high performance and ensure that these are replicated across the organization. Predictive models can also be used to forecast future performance based on various factors, such as training programs, team dynamics, and managerial effectiveness. This too aids in workforce management by allowing for more accurate goals for employees.

This data-driven approach enables organizations to tailor their training and development programs more effectively, ensuring that employees receive the support they need to succeed.

Challenges and Ethical Considerations

Despite the numerous benefits, the implementation of HR data analytics and predictive modeling is not without challenges. One of the primary concerns is the ethical use of employee data. Organizations must ensure that data collection and analysis are done transparently and in compliance with data privacy regulations.

Additionally, there’s the challenge of ensuring data quality and accuracy. Inaccurate data can lead to flawed insights and decisions, which could be detrimental to an organization’s HR strategy.

Conclusion

As we look towards the future, it’s clear that HR data analytics and predictive modeling will continue to play a critical role in workforce management. These tools not only enhance decision-making and efficiency but also support a more proactive and strategic HR function. However, it’s essential for organizations to navigate the challenges responsibly, ensuring ethical practices and data accuracy.

In an era where data is king, those who harness its power within the HR domain are set to lead the way in building more dynamic, responsive, and successful organizations. As HR continues to evolve, so too will the tools and technologies at its disposal, promising an exciting future for the field of human resource management.

 

 

Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

The Comprehensive Guide to Job Postings

In the search to hire talent to fill an organization’s vacant roles, Human Resources and leadership need to partner together to develop a strategic plan. In that plan, emphasize the importance of crafting appealing job postings. Also apply deliberate attention to the quality and content of those postings.  A job posting is meant to capture the attention of the job seeker and entice the person to apply to the vacant position. This can be challenging for a variety of reasons.  The most prominent being a job seeker scrolls through a myriad of openings trying to determine which job posting(s) is the right one for them to apply.  

A job seeker’s goals are fairly standard. They want to find a role that meets their compensation, work-life balance and skills needs.  If key information is omitted, or a message is incorrectly communicated, prospective talent might not even apply for that role. Or any that the company offers in the future for that matter.  Companies cannot afford to miss out on valuable talent so keep these essential items discussed below in the forefront when creating job postings.

Utilizing Your ATS

Imagine yourself as a job seeker. There are dozens of job boards that have thousands of job postings to sift through so use the company’s Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to post to the most relevant and niche job boards for the role. What will trigger frustration for a job seeker?  Job posts that share minimal information about the role, pay and benefits which does not give them direction as to whether the role will be fulfilling to them. What will catch the job seeker’s attention to motivate them to read through the whole job posting? 

Casual language mixed with formal speech can be a fine line when balancing mundane info with captivating content. Ultimately, job post writers need to focus on what will convince the job seeker to submit an application for the role by personifying themselves as a prospective job seeker.  Keeping those ideas in mind while writing the job description, and in particular thinking like a job seeker, will make an impact in writing job descriptions that are relevant to the job seeker population. 

Accurate Job Postings

Most job descriptions that do not catch the interest of job seekers have content that is lacking something. One of the biggest faux pas of a poorly written job post is that it does not accurately or clearly describe the role of the position. Avoid jargon and buzz phrases that fluff the job post but do not provide clarity.  Put yourself back into the role of job seeker – do not assume that the job seeker knows exactly what the role entails because you, the job description writer, know.  Human Resources and management can fall victim to the familiarity challenge. 

Job description writers are ingrained in the work culture and have heightened understanding of the role and the culture. This makes it challenging to write for those who have zero familiarity with the company and its culture, and specifically the vacant role.  It is helpful to those who write the job description to solicit feedback from other employees. This ensures that the content gives an understanding of what the role entails for those without inside company knowledge. Include the details of the role so the job seeker understands the daily, monthly and annual goals for excellent performance. 

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Job posts can often include subtle and not-so-subtle language components that deter groups of people from applying.  Make sure job posts use gender neutral language.  Men can be preschool teachers, and women can be engineering managers, but often those roles are innately perceived as fulfilled by a specific gender.  Gender Decoder  can be a useful resource to scan for unconscious bias towards groups. Individuals with disabilities are capable of employment but are often underrecruited. The ADA offers a handy resource to guide language so job posts are inclusive for individuals with disabilities. Ensure that individuals of all ages are encouraged to apply. Thoroughly check job posts to ensure that a few undesirable and non-inclusive words do not repel a large number of prospective applicants.   

Engaging Job Postings

While a job description should be factual of the role and include basic facets of information, the post needs to be engaging and reflective of the company culture.  A job seeker is looking for a place to belong while doing the job. This is recruiting. Recruit prospective job seekers by sharing about the company’s purpose and culture.  Why does the company do what they do?  How  do they focus on their employees and customers?  What makes the company so special that the job seeker must apply?  If those questions are not answered within the job post, the higher the chance of prospects skipping over the post. 

 

A job posting is an advertisement for a vacancy within an organization. It is meant to be a persuasive piece to entice job seekers to apply to it.  Careful attention must be given to making the job posting attractive. Time is of the essence for Human Resources. Although it might take more time to write a thoroughly inclusive job post free of bias which includes a plethora of relevant details about the role.  The time it takes to write in such detail will be worth it to attract additional qualified candidates.

Carefully written job posts will lead to more hires. These hires have higher employee satisfaction due to the lack of “surprises” when they are actually doing the job in the culture they thought they applied to.  Happier employees lead to increased retention. Taking more time to write a detailed and comprehensive job post can save money and time. New employees who feel their role matches what they applied for are less likely to leave. This decreases the need to hire for that same role again in the near future.

Conclusion

If your organization is unsure of how to create engaging job posts that attract candidates and lead to happy hires, contact ExactHire to discuss Full Service Hiring. Let our team of SHRM certified professionals write job posts that are engaging and inclusive. Those posts will then be promoted on nationally known job boards to reach a multitude of job seekers. As applications are submitted, our team will screen the applicants in accordance with your preferences for the role, conduct initial phone interviews, and then hand off qualified candidates to you for a final review and hiring decision!