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How to Effortlessly Use Texting to Hire Hourly Workers

You only have to look at your smartphone’s weekly screen time report to know that the amount of time we spend accessing our phones is increasing at a relentless pace. Whether our pervasive mobile usage troubles or encourages you, it is undeniable. In fact, according to research done by Hitwise, the average device split for searches was 72% for mobile and 28% for desktop in 2017.

In consideration of the amount of time people spend doing web searches on phones, naturally we’re in a climate where employers must adapt and leverage mobile communication in their hiring process–particularly while unemployment is at an epic low.

Today, the name of the hiring game is speed, and this is painfully realized in industries that employ a large number of hourly, non-exempt workers. The reality of those employers is that if they hesitate to respond quickly, the competitor across the street has already paid their would-be new hire for their first shift.

Signs that you’re not effectively using a text recruiting strategy

We can and should all continuously experiment with and tweak our hiring processes. The hiring landscape changes so quickly that constant attention is required. However, there are telltale signs that help identify when your organization has a more significant mobile communication problem.

Phone ghosting

I was initially surprised a couple of years ago when I heard that many employers of hourly workers, in particular, struggled to get candidates to respond to phone invitations for an initial interview. If your recruiters are frequently encountering full voice mail boxes when reaching out to schedule a conversation; or they discover that a candidate doesn’t even have voice mail set up, then it’s time to try something other than a phone call.

Candidate shelf-life

It’s not uncommon for employers who rely on large numbers of hourly workers to empower the managers and assistant managers of various store locations to screen candidates and invite them to proceed in the hiring process. Because hiring is just one of myriad operational responsibilities for these managers, they don’t always respond to candidates as quickly as may be necessary in this job market.

This failure in prompt candidate engagement all too often sinks a retail location’s recruiting efforts before the ship even leaves port. Or, maybe a manager is in such tremendous need of candidates that he recognizes this deficiency and immediately calls or emails new applicants. However, because many hourly workers tend to fill positions that aren’t necessarily accompanied by a desktop computer or an office landline, their tendency is to communicate via text rather than voice mail or email.

If a job seeker doesn’t recognize a general manager’s incoming phone number, chances are she’ll avoid taking the call–meanwhile, if she has applied to multiple hourly positions, a savvy competitor is grabbing her attention and her time via text before she checks her inbox.

Standardizing communication and respecting candidate privacy

In the absence of a strong hiring software platform that allows managers to contact job candidates via text message, many managers of hourly workers will resort to their own smartphone to contact applicants to connect for an interview.

This is commonplace; however, it isn’t in the best interest of the employer. In many cases, these applicants were not prompted to opt-in to receiving text messages during the job application process–why would they if the applicant tracking system didn’t support text messaging?

Not only is this a privacy concern as it does not allow job candidates to formally opt-out of text messages once they are initiated, but practically speaking, candidates won’t necessarily be on the lookout for text communication from your organization.

Arguably, they will probably quickly adapt given that texting is second nature to many of them, but your organization is missing an opportunity to set expectations about the hiring process and endear itself to candidates…candidates who are in hot demand.

Moreover, when general managers take texting candidates into their own hands outside of an ATS, there is no guarantee of adequate communication documentation with the job applicant. By utilizing applicant tracking software that includes in-application texting functionality, an employer is ensuring that multiple users of the system have access to review communication between candidates.

After all, in this highly competitive recruiting landscape, recruiters have full plates and may be called to work on different job requisitions if a co-worker is on vacation, on leave, etc. What you don’t want is for only one person in your organization to have access to candidate conversations–that’s a significant obstacle for a scaling company.

Why is mobile recruiting an opportunity for hourly jobs in particular?

Hourly workers are often the front-line defense (or offense) for your organization. They are the individuals who are most likely to interact directly with your customers. And, unfortunately, they are often in the positions with the highest turnover–whether that is related to the nature of the job, the typical lower pay (relative to exempt positions), and/or the lack of benefits (at least in the case of part-time hourly employees). In a job market flooded with open positions, candidates will leave for a few cents more per hour.

You see this happen in positions like

  • hosts and servers at your local restaurant,
  • cashiers at your retail store,
  • LPNs at your healthcare facility,
  • service techs at your automotive dealership, and
  • direct support professionals (DSPs) for nonprofits.

People who fill these types of positions tend to be on the go (i.e. not doing a desk job) and may have more than one part-time job at a time. They don’t get into email or voice mail as frequently (if at all), and so they need fewer barriers to communication when it comes to job consideration, as well as long-term engagement with an employer.

Considering that over 58% of America’s working population fills hourly positions (BLS, 2017), there’s real opportunity to leverage texting to be the first to attract and engage hourly job candidates. I’m offering the following steps to help you position your organization as an earlier adopter of the mobile recruiting revolution.

6 steps to successfully use texting to hire hourly workers

1 – Create communication efficiency

Use pre-built text message templates within your applicant tracking system. Create and label them for different stages in the selection process for hourly workers. This saves store managers time when they need to hire three new retail associates–“yesterday!”

2 – Model the right texting behavior

Train your hiring managers on appropriate texting etiquette for your recruiting process. Does the language they use and the tone they convey support your overall employment brand? Additionally, make sure they understand how text messages will show up to the job candidate.

An easy way to accomplish this is to test the messaging feature from within a sample job application. Then, take a screenshot of how it appears to a recipient on your phone and share it with managers. This step will help them understand from what number(s) messages may originate, whether the sender’s name, job title and/or organization name are referenced, and how much of the message will appear on the preview screen before being cut off.

3 – Lightning fast speed

Use text to reply promptly to candidates once they’ve responded to your initial outreach. Don’t make the mistake of resting on your laurels once you have native texting functionality and take your sweet time to reply–jump on message responses!

Remember: texting affords job candidates fewer communication barriers to entry, so they expect organizations to respond quickly, too.

4 – Strategically plan text content

You should absolutely use text to reach all types of job candidates to screen and schedule interviews. However, text messages also present an opportunity–when used thoughtfully and selectively–to reach candidates who are on the fence about joining your organization.

Consider the potential impact of a personalized message sharing a link to a positive article about your company. Or, the likelihood that a hired candidate will end up ghosting you during the pre-boarding phase if you regularly connect with him to prepare him for his first shift.

5 – Flip the script on thank you notes

Use text messages to thank a job candidate for her time and preparation after you conduct an interview. That’s right–once upon a time, we expected job candidates to thank recruiters and hiring managers for their time in order to help them secure an offer–but times are changing!

Thank you notes are still an amazing gesture on the part of a job candidate, but they are no longer a mainstay for job offer consideration in today’s job market given the sorry state of many employers’ candidate pipelines.

Today is about sourcing, not screening. Break through the clutter by proactively thanking candidates with a simple text message and humanize your hiring process.

6 – Hiring process visualization

When candidates know what to expect from the hiring process it

  • helps them visualize how they see themselves interacting with your organization,
  • may allow them to more adequately prepare, and
  • it makes it easier for them to say “yes” when you make the job offer.

You can use text to quickly outline the various hiring process steps at the onset of the recruiting process. Think of this step as reducing friction for distracted job seekers who probably have many options before them. If you can grease their understanding runway regarding your job opportunity–and you can do so quickly–you’ll be the employer who is poaching job candidates from competitors across the street.

Mobile recruiting facilitated by text message communication is here to stay. Armed with the steps outlined above, you’re on the way to engaging the job seekers in your hourly job candidate pipeline and positively impacting your employer’s bottom line.

ExactHire Hiring Software | Text Recruiting

Audit Your Recruitment Process Marketing Content to Delight Job Seekers

Use this audit checklist to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of your recruiting process-related content.

I’m not the first one to say that recruiters, human resources professionals and marketing specialists should team up to create content that engages top talent in your recruitment process. However, how many of you have actively engaged in measuring the impact of that HR/marketing “bestie” partnership?

If you don’t have a benchmark from which to grow, your organization will have a tough time figuring out which recruiting content is worth the investment of time and money.

Maximize the effectiveness of your recruiting content with a periodic audit of your hiring process-related promotional assets. Establishing KPIs for content will make it easy to quickly identify existing content gems, as well as guide you in developing additional content that will resonate.

Auditing your recruitment content is as easy as 1-2-3

Let’s examine the audit process and recap with a free recruitment process marketing content scorecard.

1 – Determine your recruitment content audit’s focus

You can’t decide if you’re investing your time and resources to produce recruitment content wisely until you settle on the scope of your audit.

Don’t sweat it if you can’t tackle a comprehensive audit in your first attempt. If you can–great–though it will depend on your recruiting volume and what you’ve previously tackled in terms of content analysis.

It’s okay to segment an otherwise comprehensive audit into smaller sub-audits–just have an overall plan in place for which audit type should be attempted first.

Potential content audit focuses:

  • Employment brand quality: consider whether your recruitment content is well written, and whether it aligns with what you’ve defined as your organizational employment brand.
  • Hiring process stage: analyze whether a specific hiring process stage is addressed in each of your content assets, and if job seeker questions characteristic of that stage are answered by the content.
  • Job board optimization and search engine optimization (SEO): review your job listing rankings on third party job boards and recruitment content performance on external search engines to identify improvements that will create better digital awareness for your employment opportunities.
  • Content compliance: examine whether your content meets any industry- and/or government-related compliance requirements for your organization, including an analysis of your career content’s ability to attract a diverse set of job candidates.

2 – Settle on your audit evaluation factors

Your recruiting content evaluation process will be based on the type of audit you select. The audit factors must be easily measurable and align to your project scope.

Because this audit is a wonderful opportunity to connect the human resources and marketing teams in your company, ask the project champions from each of those departments to determine the ideal recruiting content audit criteria.

If we select a hiring process stage audit as an example, then HR and marketing might jointly evaluate factors like the content’s

  • alignment with overall employment brand,
  • specific hiring stage focus (e.g. awareness, consideration, conversion, retention and advocacy),
  • attempt to answer stage-appropriate job seeker questions,
  • call-to-action for the next step in the hiring process,
  • current distribution and promotion method by stage type, and
  • likelihood of being easily utilized by hiring stage stakeholders

As you prepare for an audit, you should also plan your intended project deliverables. Aside from a quantitative score for each recruitment content asset, deliverables can include other action steps to enhance content quality.

Potential hiring process stage content audit deliverables:

  • Documentation of all current content assets by hiring stage
  • Content gap analysis for certain hiring process stages
  • List of questions that individual content assets should answer at each hiring process stage
  • Action steps for your content library – content to retain, revise, create or expire
  • Template for creating content for each hiring process stage
  • Distribution strategy for each asset based on hiring process stage and content type (e.g. owned media such as your own career site, earned media such as a guest blog placement on an industry website, or paid media such as a sponsored job listing on a job board)

3 – Rank your recruiting process content

After you’ve married the appropriate content criteria with each asset, you’re ready to score your recruitment process content!

Please recognize that some things can be quantitatively evaluated (e.g. how many out of X job seeker questions are answered?) while others are subjective (e.g. does the narrative’s language support our employment brand initiatives?).

Now’s your chance to create your own evaluation form to standardize your existing and future recruitment content.

Need some help designing your employer’s scoring process? ExactHire created this recruitment process content scorecard to help you hit the ground running.

 

ExactHire Recruitment Process Content Scorecard

Recommendations that resonate

Your audit data is chock full of ideas on where you can start making an immediate impact on your recruitment process marketing. Best of all, it’s backed by a standardized content scorecard.

Use your scorecard analysis to spot trends. Does one aspect of your hiring process consistently fall short? Could others help implement some of the action steps due to their expertise in one stage of the process?

Backed by your audit data, you’re on your way to constructing a high-level recruitment process content strategy that will reinforce your employment brand and help convert more new hires.

Reject With Respect: How to Decline Job Candidates

One of the less glamorous tasks in recruiting and human resources is the responsibility to decline a job candidate when he isn’t the best individual for a role. While it’s not easy or fun, it can and should be done with efficiency, professionalism and respect. After all, if you were in the candidate’s shoes, you’d want to know the final decision on your potential employment status with the organization.

Unfortunately, many employers procrastinate on or even skip this essential candidate communication due to apathy, a lack of organization and/or a poor system for managing candidate follow-up during the hiring process. Not only does this damage the company’s employment brand (and likely the consumer brand), but it also impedes its ability to source a sufficiently stocked candidate pipeline in the future. In fact, according to The Candidate Experience Study (WorkplaceTrends), candidates are 3.5 times more likely to re-apply to a company if they were notified when declined for a previous position.

Put yourself in a position to professionally decline candidates by forming your candidate rejection strategies before you find yourself in the moment. Craft email template options, brainstorm bullet points for phone scripts and role play a “no thanks” conversation with a coworker. In this blog, I’ll share ten employment brand-friendly strategies for passing on job candidates.

1 – Set yourself up for success by setting expectations

I’m a huge believer in setting hiring process expectations with candidates so they understand

  • how long it may take to fill the job,
  • how many stages are involved,
  • whether they will receive an answer on their candidacy regardless of decision made, and
  • in which format the answer will be sent.

The desirable impact of this habit is that it forces you–as a recruiter or hiring manager–to stay accountable to telling candidates when they aren’t selected. You wouldn’t want to go back on your word and damage your professional reputation (or that of your organization) by dropping the ball.

2 – Personalize follow-up by hiring stage

Applicant tracking systems make it easy to personalize fields such as name, job title and company in email templates, and employers should create templates for each stage a candidate navigates during the hiring process. For example, while I rely on automated personalization in emails sent to candidates that don’t progress past the application, I make a personal phone call to a silver medal candidate who finished second after the final interview.

However, there are many nuanced approaches that fall in between those opposite ends of the hiring process. I explore them in the following sections.

3 – It’s not never, just not now

How many times have you interviewed a sharp candidate for a specific position who didn’t have the same amount of experience as the individual who finished first? Or, perhaps the personality of the silver (or even bronze) medal candidate wouldn’t have been the perfect match with the hiring manager involved?

There are situations when you really believe in the potential for the rejected candidate to do something at your organization in the future–the timing just isn’t right now. Don’t lose track of these individuals. Instead, engage them in a targeted campaign for future job opportunities, invite them to subscribe to your future job alerts and send them a thank you email with links to follow you on social and read your corporate blog.

4 – We’d love to leverage your strengths elsewhere

I’ve sourced candidates for many sales positions and I always encounter candidates from a wide variety of sales specializations. Some are amazing new client hunters, others excel at managing and nurturing an existing client base, and some would be better suited to driving client acquisition behind the scenes by developing lead acquisition techniques.

When I find a talented individual with the wrong specialization for my current role, I do my best to reroute her to an opportunity that better aligns with her strengths. If your organization is large enough, that may be as easy as inviting her to apply to other roles internally, or making it simple for the candidate by teeing up an introduction to another hiring manager.

If you’re not currently hiring for any other relevant roles, then tag that candidate for future consideration for other job categories with a meaningful status in your applicant tracking software. Then, periodically touch base with her to let her know she is of continued interest to your organization.

5 – You have potential, keep at it

When you encounter an inexperienced candidate with a long runway of potential future performance, invest in a targeted communication approach with that individual. Tag that candidate to receive communications about

  • how to prepare for your hiring process,
  • the skills and education you require in various job categories,
  • opportunities for internships and temp-to-hire roles, and
  • future hiring events such as open houses and career fairs where your organization will be represented.

Relative to the other strategies listed here, this tactic is a slow simmer; however, six months to two years down the road that greenhorn candidate may have professionally matured into the best option for your future job listing. Plus, the opportunity cost of nurturing her via email and social over time is usually far exceeded by the short-term costs of paid job board listings and external recruiter fees.

6 – Can I help connect you?

Sometimes the final group of candidates for a position are in a neck-to-neck race to the employment offer. While almost negligible differences may separate their final qualification for a position (e.g. the recommendation of a colleague, a slight difference in pay expectations, their availability to start by a certain day), there’s only one first place finisher.

Don’t lose sight of your opportunity to not only engage those not selected in future opportunities with your organization, but also your privilege to help connect them with your network in the hopes they may land something spectacular elsewhere. This could be as simple as an invitation from you to connect on LinkedIn so that you may facilitate introductions between them and your friends at other organizations.

I’ve employed this approach successfully in my own career when I wasn’t the final choice for an available position. In fact, I’ve sourced new clients as a result of the relationship I maintained with an employer despite being its silver medal candidate for a position. You never know when your path may intersect with an organization again.

7 – Circumstances have changed

Perhaps more frustrating than not finishing first is the feeling a candidate experiences when an employer decides not to fill an open position. After all, the candidate has already invested the time and energy in applying, interviewing and waiting only to not find out whether he was ever qualified to be selected!

While some employers will send a communication to candidates when circumstances prevent the company from filling the position, many have the opportunity to improve that message by commenting on whether the candidate should pursue the position should it become available once again. If a candidate was not a fit for the role even though the role wasn’t filled, be respectful of that candidate’s future time by thanking him for his interest and encouraging him to either develop himself more in specific areas or pursue different avenues in the future.

8 – Thank you with a parting gift

If you feel like parting ways with a job candidate isn’t the sweet sorrow you were seeking, then offer a consolation prize. NOTE: This isn’t for everyone and should be approached with a delicate analysis of the candidate audience relative to your consumer brand. However, particularly if you are a retail brand sourcing part-time positions for various locations, a parting discount or coupon can sweeten the sting of rejection.

For example, as long as I was communicated to and treated with respect during the hiring process, a thoughtful decline note that asks me to keep an eye on future positions and includes a coupon could prompt future job applications from me. In the hourly, part-time employment world, five dollars off my next pizza would encourage my continued patronage of a retail brand I probably already enjoy.

9 – What can we do better?

When we recruit in a vacuum, we can’t expect to improve our process or our hiring outcomes. Therefore, choice employers incorporate a continuous feedback loop into their recruiting workflow by surveying their job candidates.

The key to success with this approach is to customize the feedback request based on both the status and stage of the candidate. After all, an applicant rejected after an initial phone screen will have a different scope of experience than the final candidate who receives the employment offer.

Take action on the nuggets of wisdom uncovered in candidate surveys by stage and produce content that explains how you’ve improved the hiring process. And, because you’ve stayed in contact with previously declined candidates based on strategies mentioned earlier, your future conversion of these boomerang candidates will certainly improve.

10 – A reverence for referred candidates

In the same way that employers have a responsibility to follow-up with all candidates to preserve their employment brand, employers have a duty to follow-up with existing employees who refer candidates. While the explicit details of the employment decision may not be appropriate to share with the referring employee, a general comment about the candidate’s status in the hiring process will always be appreciated.

In addition to sending a sincere thank you to the employee, providing closure about the status of the referral will help ensure that employees continue to make an effort to promote your organization within their networks.

 

The communication strategy you employ within your hiring process is critically important to the long-term success of your organization. Keeping people respectfully informed of their candidate status will go a long way toward populating your talent pipeline in the future.

Download our hiring process questions guide

10 Steps to Rolling Out Core Values at a Small Business

There are many reasons that organizations choose not to craft a core set of values. Sometimes, senior management doesn’t think core values are a big deal because they think every employee already knows how they are supposed to act to succeed. Or, key employees may have had a bad experience with values at a previous organization that were essentially meaningless. Moreover, not having any recognized values relieves any obligation for an employer to deal with employees who would not live up to a set of corporate values.

If it’s too easy for your organization to find an excuse not to commit to forming a relevant, celebrated value statement, then your business will never reach its full potential. It’s just not possible when conditions aren’t in place to align a workforce with the principles that an employer holds sacred.

At ExactHire, we only very recently rolled out our core values. While the company has been in business since 2007, our management team had some of the same objections that I initially mentioned. However, when we first decided that it was time to make a change and embrace the value process, we made the classic rookie mistake of involving everyone. As you can imagine, it resulted in a hot mess of groupthink…complete with vanilla platitudes that can only result from trying to be everything to everyone. And not surprisingly, the trite single-word adjectives we selected were quickly forgotten.

The Better Way to Craft Core Values

However, after some frank internal banter and a commitment to make our values amount to more than just a framed wall poster, we embarked on a mission that led us to G.E.C.U.S.P.

ExactHire Core Values
While we’re extremely happy with these new core values, we fell a little short on a catchy acronym. But hey, there’s only so many ways to rearrange letters. In this blog, I’ll share our process for creating, unveiling and embracing the ExactHire core values that truly represent our small business.

1 – Owner ownership

We were fortunate to learn, with only a minor hiccup, that you can’t involve everyone if you’re going to capture the true values of your organization. Keep your values “discovery team” small, and ideally comprised of only your founder(s) and perhaps certain long-tenured senior managers. The values of the organization should reflect the values of the founders, and so owner ownership of the process is essential. They are the ones that will model the behavior to the rest of the organization.

2 – Give context and get buy-in

Especially when members of your values discovery group are skeptical about the potential impact of spending time on core value development, you must set clear expectations. Talk about what will be different this time compared to their past experiences and get their feedback. Discuss ways in which the values will be woven into daily work life beyond the initial announcement. Assign stakeholders to own various values initiatives.

Then, consider announcing to the rest of the company that you are creating values and that it is a process that is taken very seriously. Then, when the eventual values are announced later, employees will know that they were formed with careful intention and not just copied from some business book.

3 – Brainstorm independently, but with parameters

Each member of the small discovery team should come up with a list of values on his/her own. If you’ve selected the right core group of people (e.g. founders, key long-time employees), and they are being honest about how work is really done at the organization, then their separate lists should have many similarities.

However, to start them down a productive path, clarify the following:

  • They are to list actual core values, not aspirational values. As Patrick Lencioni details in this Harvard Business Review article, aspirational values may be necessary for the company’s eventual success, but are not representative of the traits that the company can honestly claim today.
  • They should avoid one-word overused “no duh” adjectives like “innovation” or “integrity.” At ExactHire, our team focused on short phrases.
  • They are welcome to look at values from other organizations that they believe have a similar culture to get the creative juices flowing.

4 – Collaborate to edit and refine

In our experience, we knew we were on the right track–as when we gathered to compare notes–our lists were about an 85% match. That reassured us that we were on the right path, and then the process of rephrasing statements and combining categories to come up with a succinct list was relatively painless.

During this process, we honed our list by asking questions like these:

  • Are these actual or aspirational values?
  • Are there any obvious outliers that won’t seem authentic to employees?
  • Is the language gritty enough to represent how we do business? Does it make our priorities clear?
  • Are these values complementary to our employment brand? Strategic planning process? Performance management process?

5 – Simmer

Once we were content with our final values list, we knew that we had to give it some time to make sure it really fit the organization. We tabled the process for a couple of months in order to let them sink in to ensure their credibility before announcing them to the rest of the organization.

6 – Plan a big reveal

The definition of “big” will depend on your organization’s size. However, no matter the size, don’t just send out an email or make a quick announcement that your new values are posted. Plan a reveal that will be memorable and engage employees to quickly learn the values.

At ExactHire, we planned the announcement during our monthly company meeting, and took time to explain how we approached the process and why we involved a very small group of employees. Prior to the unveiling, we designed a logo that incorporates color and different fonts to make it easy to remember our G.E.C.U.S.P. However, we knew that employees wouldn’t necessarily take it upon themselves to periodically glance at the logo. So, we ordered die-cut laptop stickers (from my new obsession Sticker Mule) and presented them to employees during the meeting.

ExactHire Employees Core Values Stickers

Tom, Jess and Darythe showing off ExactHire core values!

Now, many of the laptops you see around our office proudly sport our values and make it easy for them to be top-of-mind. While stickers may be the norm for a software company, if mugs, water bottles or magnets are more your speed–go for it! The point is to select an item that is frequently close to your employees and reinforces the values visually on a daily basis.

In our meeting, we also handed out the unabridged internal document that defines our values…complete with bullet points that clarify what each short phrase means.

ExactHire Core Values Bullet Detail

7 – Cultivate employee values engagement

To add to the excitement of our initial roll-out, we wanted to keep the momentum going in the early adoption phase by giving employees the optional opportunity to participate in a t-shirt design contest. We had been meaning to get company t-shirts for some time anyway (what cool tech company doesn’t have an employee picture in matching shirts after all?), and this seemed like the perfect chance to meet that need while getting teammates excited about incorporating values into an aspect of our culture.

We passed out this contest rules flyer during the company meeting, and employees were invited to select the winning t-shirt design via anonymous survey a week later.

ExactHire Core Values Tshirt Contest

And the winner is…

ExactHire Core Values T-shirt Winner

NOTE: We haven’t produced them yet at the time of this writing…hence no cool team picture in matching outfits yet–stay tuned!

While our contest rules didn’t stipulate that the new values had to be explicitly represented on the t-shirt, I was pleased that the majority of the submitted designs did actually incorporate the values anyway…a sign that we were on the right track. If employees don’t believe you’ve selected the right values, they won’t want to wear them!

Here are some other values engagement ideas:

  • Plan book club discussions about books that are based on some of your selected values.
  • Challenge employees to self-identify how they can better align their own work and behavior to core values.
  • Invite employees to blog about how they see values represented at the organization from their own perspective. This is a great way to promote your values to the external world in a very authentic way, as well.

8 – Share your values externally

Don’t stop at blogging when it comes to sharing your values outside of your organization. Organizations that walk the talk will be more attractive to job seekers, potential customers and business partners. Consider the following ideas:

  • Include your values graphic on your company’s “about” page.
  • Weave values into your jobs portal or applicant tracking system. Include a link to information about your values in job descriptions. This is a great tool to get some less desirable applicants to self-select out of your hiring process.
  • Create a slide deck about your core values that can be embedded in social media posts and web pages.
  • Invite employees to do testimonials that talk about how each of your values impacts their work life. These can be in written and/or video format.
  • Use your values as a basis for selecting organizations with which to partner for charitable donations and volunteer hours. When contributing silent auction items to noteworthy causes, choose items that can be easily tied to your values.
  • Creatively display your values in your working space, especially in places where customers, partners and job candidates will visit.

9 – Live your values everyday

Don’t fall into the dreaded cliche of rolling out values and then forgetting about them the next day. Build in triggers to live them. For example, if you are in Human Resources, a department that helps champion work culture and supports senior management initiatives, set periodic reminders to intentionally think about values and how recent events can be correlated to them. For example, if a customer sends in a “happy note” about the service he received, then have a founder forward the note to the entire company with a comment that ties it back to a specific core value being positively represented.

Other ideas for reinforcing core values:

  • Make them the deciding factor on company decisions.
  • Use them to inspire internal traditions like Monday Funday.
  • Evaluate whether your performance management process appropriately accounts for employees’ embodiment of core values.
  • Revisit your interview process and incorporate questions that give you an opportunity to discuss core values with job candidates.
  • If your organization is large enough, consider a quarterly prize that recognizes individuals who have done something that specifically reinforces a certain value. Document these employee stories and share them with incoming employees to build a tradition of celebrating value alignment.

10 – Re-evaluate your values periodically

It’s important to be vigilant about engaging employees to your core values, as well as ensuring that senior management models them appropriately. Additionally, while core values would rarely (if ever) change for an organization (assuming founders remain involved), there may be times when an additional value is warranted.

Conduct employee pulse surveys from time to time to ask questions that will help you take the temperature on whether the organization needs to be doing more to promote value alignment.

I hope that the lessons we learned during the value formation process for ExactHire can help inspire action for other small- and medium-sized employers. We’re still in the learning process, too, as we look for more ways to reinforce them everyday…but we’re heading in the right direction.

cultivating-company-culture-exacthire

6 Learning Benefit Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank in 2017

It’s the end of the year once again. And if you’re like me, you might be reminded of all the things you endeavored to accomplish in 2016…but just didn’t get around to starting/doing/finishing. Especially if any of them were official new year resolutions. And while I failed at some endeavors, but succeeded to form other productive habits, one thing is clear: my ideas with the best chance of success are the ones that take just a little bit of time, not a ton of money and can be easily turned into a healthy long-term habit. Sustainable learning is one such habit that has every chance of being successful–and not just for me.

“What you see depends on where you stand.” – Albert Einstein

Wise words, indeed. Furthermore, consider Isaac Newton’s statement “if I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Gaining new knowledge to broaden our perspective is a great place to start when considering little habits with potentially big impact in 2017. In this blog, I’ll share six learning opportunities you can encourage your employees to utilize in 2017 that range from free to affordable for small and medium business.

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1 – Feed their brains with Feedly

Does the thought of scrolling your email inbox forever strike fear into your heart? Or…gasp!…having to click to view the next page of emails? If I had you at “scroll,” then imagine the liberation of capturing all the compelling blogs/articles from your favorite e-newsletters (that you never have time to read before they pile up in your inbox) in a separate, easy-to-find spot that can be searched anytime? Enter Feedly – your new favorite RSS reader for all the content you don’t want to miss. While Feedly does have paid options if you really want to get into easy content sharing and annotating, I enjoy the free version on my desktop and smartphone app. Make news of this resource available to your team and encourage them to share the insight they gain from staying up on the latest content in your industry.

2 – Never miss a good read

Once you’ve mastered Feedly, you’re bound to run across book reviews and/or interesting quotes from novels that you might like to read as you peruse the latest blog content. Don’t make the mistake of logging a mere mental note to check that book out next time you hit the library or Audible. Instead, create a profile on the free social network for avid book readers, Goodreads. Whether I keep a tab open in my browser or quickly access the phone app, Goodreads is always there for me to quickly categorize a book as “want to read,” “currently reading” or “read [it].” Better yet, by connecting with my peers on the network, I can quickly find books that may appeal to me. In a business setting, fellow co-worker bookworms can share and inspire ideas for goal planning and/or content for in-office book clubs.

3 – Auditory learners have options, too

Not everyone is the type of person to just curl up with a good book or e-reader; however, many more are willing to give listening to books a try. Especially if you have employees with lengthy work commutes, or those who are looking for a distraction during their next workout session, consider offering an optional subscription benefit for an audiobook service like Audible or Scribd. At ExactHire, we have a partial benefit that allows employees to pay only 50% of the cost of a subscription to ebook and audiobook provider, Scribd. We selected Scribd because it is only $8-9/month for three books and one audiobook, yet has an increasingly prolific catalog of business- and personal development-related books from which to choose. Because there is a cost to the employer for this benefit, we ask employees to do the following in exchange for the partial reimbursement:

  • At least once per quarter, write a blog that either reviews a book, or at least references an idea from a relevant book read during that quarter.
  • Share insights gained from books read to inspire new ideas and actions during departmental and strategy planning meetings.
    So, for only about $13.50 per quarter, I get to read and/or listen to as many as 12 different books of my choice…without any waiting lists. I satisfy my work requirement for the quarter, and then catch up on my personal to-read list, too.

4 – Seize the day – get that certification

While the price of obtaining a professional certification will vary depending on the credential one seeks, relative to the cost of tuition reimbursement for an employee, certifications are an affordable learning benefit that allow your teammates to improve their skill set. Some members of the ExactHire team hold various credentials, including HRCI’s PHR/SPHR, SHRM’s SHRM-CP/SHRM-SCP and the Google Analytics certification. In fact, a big congratulations goes out to our very own Darythe Taylor, who earned her SHRM-CP designation last week!

Aside from well-recognized professional certifications, in this world of SaaS software there are myriad providers who certify power users of their own software platforms. So, encourage the administrators of your organization’s key software platforms to explore advanced training and/or certification from your provider(s).

5 – Learn anywhere, any time with Lynda

Need to boost the knowledge base of your white collar workers? Look no further than Lynda.com from LinkedIn to give your team access to unlimited courses about everything from web development to business to design to marketing. Plans start at just $19.99 per month for the basic offering. Or, research and consider other similar services/sites such as Udemy, Codecademy or Khan Academy.

6 – Fingertip fast

Earlier this year, I learned about a free pilot program from Google called Primer. Its promise is easy to digest, marketing-specific training in five minutes or less. While this appeals to me (especially when I’m waiting to pick my kids up from practice and have time to kill on my phone), not everyone is interested in marketing learning. For a broader array of subject matter resources, check out the TED app to catch up on the latest TED talks. With such a wide variety of topics from which to choose, there is bound to be something for everyone on your organization’s team. Who knows, maybe a talk will inspire a rousing debate at the next all hands meeting.

Make accessible learning resources a priority for your workforce in 2017. It’s a great way to engage employees and create a culture that champions development and innovation. Here’s to standing on giants’ shoulders!

Download ExactHire Company Culture E-book

ExactHire Named a Nominee for 2016 TechPoint Mira Awards

It was a big year for the ExactHire team in 2015, full of many exciting developments including the addition of brand new positions and a steady stream of product enhancements. The positive momentum is continuing as we’re thrilled to announce that the Indiana technology growth initiative, TechPoint, has named ExactHire a nominee in the Innovation of the Year category for the 2016 Mira Awards.

In its 17th year, the Mira Awards annual program honors “The Best of Tech in Indiana” each year. This season, 98 nominees in 14 award categories were selected from 168 applications by an independent judging panel comprised of 40 subject matter experts who evaluated and ranked the applications.

It’s an exciting time to be a part of the tech community in Indiana, and we’re honored to be included in the following list of ground-breaking Indiana organizations:

Innovation of the Year

To learn more about the TechPoint Mira Awards and the organizations represented in each category, click here.

Want to bring more efficiency to your recruiting, onboarding & hiring processes? Schedule a demo today.

 

Onboarding SWAG Never Gets Old!

Swag is everywhere these days… who doesn’t love getting free stuff?!  Whether its free lip balm at the dentist office, pens at the bank or coolies at a sporting event, everyone has some type of swag in their possession. But did you know this is also a great item to give to your staff??

Part of the Team

When hiring a new employee, making sure they feel like part of the organization is key.  This will help them stay excited about their job and be an overall positive experience for everyone. One of the best ways to be part of the team, is to look the part! Each of your employees should have apparel or gear with your company logo on it. This could be simply a polo or a fleece jacket.  At ExactHire, we are fortunate enough to be able to pick a new item each year. (or sometimes 2 items!) We all look forward to picking new items; some dressy, some casual depending on the employee’s choice.  This simple thing can unite your staff and create branding outside the office walls.

Creative and Fun

This is so IMPORTANT!! Not everyone wants to have 1000’s of pens in their desk drawer that have come from all different companies. Being creative and fun with your swag choice will keep your employees and clients happy. Picking something new and different will let them know you are a great organization to work for (or work with!) Our new EXACTHIRE earbuds sure made the staff happy when we handed them out last week and will also be a big hit at the next SHRM conference.

Useful Items for Everyday

Another good thing to keep in mind with picking out items, is how useful they will be. The more useful the item, the longer it will be kept in the forefront of your employees’ or clients’ minds. This gives you more ROI for the item. For us, we have used reusable totes and keychain flashlights as items for both our staff and as handouts at events. These items will not be used one time and then thrown out, they were purchased to be used repeatedly to keep our message in front of people longer. You should think about this same idea when making important onboarding swag decisions for your organization as well.

Using swag is great way to catch the eye of potential clients, but it’s also a great way to make the onboarding and retaining of staff easier and more enjoyable. For more tips on onboarding or to find out more about ExactHire’s products,  contact us today.

Image credit: Stuff We All Get by ChasingVictory (contact)

A Paperless Workplace Is Good Business

Wasted time. Wasted money.  No one likes waste–the mere mention of the word evokes the feeling of regret. But across the world we do it every day. Often times, as individuals, we waste because we cannot find an alternative. But for small businesses today, much time and money is wasted by ignoring the obvious, glaring alternative of transitioning to a paperless workplace.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, paper and paperboard products accounted for roughly 69 million tons (or 27 percent) of the U.S. municipal waste stream in 2012–nearly twice the amount of the next most wasted material, food. On average, each U.S. citizen is responsible for 1.2 lbs. of paper waste per day. And while recycling efforts have helped to mitigate paper waste, the best approach to reducing waste is to avoid generating it in the first place.

Paperless Possibilities

The Information Age has ushered in new possibilities for conservation. In the vast majority of cases–especially with the broad adoption of e-signatures and cloud drives–paper documents are not necessary. Yet, too many businesses have been slow in transitioning to a paperless workplace.

Small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. employ around 56.1 million people. Imagine if these businesses fully embraced a paperless work environment. Yes, this would sharply reduce waste by businesses, but more importantly it would influence how employees think about paper use outside the office.

Do I really need the newspaper delivered?

Do I need to receive a paper bill?

Do I have to print this off?

Where else can I save paper?

An environmentally responsible employer brand is one benefit of moving to a paperless work environment, but there are cost savings to be realized with the transition as well. Paperless solutions not only remove the need to use paper for common tasks and processes, many times they automate those same processes as well. So in addition to the savings associated with not buying paper and print cartridges, a business can return higher profits through increased process efficiency.

A Culture of Conservation

Your business can take the first step in becoming a paperless workplace by first creating a culture of conservation. Here are a few ideas on how to use less paper in your office:

  • Purchase printer and copier units that can print on both sides of a sheet of paper.
  • Set all computers and copiers to default to double-sided printing.
  • Use email instead of paper or faxes.
  • Don’t print email messages.
  • Work on drafts electronically, using “edit” and “comment” features.
  • Choose reusable cups, plates, and utensils instead of disposable paper and plastic items for your office break room.
  • Use paper towels made with post-consumer recycled material or use cloth napkins.
  • Choose reusable lunch bags or coolers.

To make the full leap to a paperless workplace,  you’ll need to explore how new technologies can further remove your reliance on paper. From communications and marketing to document storage and employee management, virtually every aspect of your business can be enhanced by investing in technology. And the best part? Many of these technologies are very affordable… and sometimes even free.

So stop wasting time and money, transform your business into a paperless workplace. You have nothing to lose–except paper…lots of expensive paper.

ExactHire provides paperless HR solutions to help small businesses achieve greater efficiency. Please contact us today to learn how you can stop wasting time and money by going paperless!

 

Perks and Quirks of Working for an SMB

Working for a small to medium-sized business (SMB) is much different than working for a large corporation in various ways. In my personal experience, I have to admit that working for a smaller company better fits my personality. The tight-knit camaraderie and close connections we have to each other’s personal lives feels more like a family environment than the sweatshop-esque call center that I fled before starting here.

Sure, we don’t always get the same financial perks that a Fortune 500 company can offer, but we aren’t getting cheated on our paychecks either. There is a give and take in any relationship–even the employee/employer relationship.

Perks

For me, the benefits of a caring team and the perks of occasionally working from home are worth more to me than a company match on a highly-regulated 401K. I am happy to invest my earnings in other vehicles and keep the mileage low on my actual vehicle.

We also bond as a team in a manner that is much more satisfying and organic than anything I have experienced in my past careers. We enjoy the State Fair on an annual basis, reach goals to earn fun prizes, laugh and joke in the hallway, and support each other professionally.

Quirks

As in life, things are not all sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes working for a smaller company can bring in the very real issue of transparency and lack of professional privacy. Whether it be the announcement of someone’s first sale, new grandchild, or the company budget – we all know the story pretty quickly. But it’s nice to know that if our co-founder is going to be out for the afternoon, we will all get a little note with a FYI. This is a unique quirk of working for a small business–nobody’s rights are being violated here. Having high-visibility is embraced by our team as just the nature of our office life.

All of these small business quirks combine to create a wonderful atmosphere that encourages each of us to do our best and support each other. In times of trial and tribulation, we come together to prevail. Most of these are professional challenges, but very recently, we had a bit of a unique situation in our local office.

Quirky Example: The Bucket Brigade

During a typical April shower in Indianapolis (think monsoon thunderstorm), on an otherwise calm Thursday afternoon in the office, we started to hear some unusually loud precipitation. At first, we weren’t sure if something was really wrong until we entered an unoccupied office and stood shocked by streams of water cascading from the ceiling at multiple points! And this was not just any office, but the office of our sister-company’s vacationing president. Electronics, documents, books, personal items, and more that were being showered with water.

The skeleton crew from our joint office quickly gathered and became the Bucket Brigade. Together we made the best out of the stressful situation by forming a make-shift clean-up crew with the common goal of salvaging the important items that had been drenched. I think most corporate offices would have called ‘the authorities’ and remained idle with the fear of being reprimanded for touching the belongings of others. But being part of a small company meant that our team members who were working remotely could instantly ramp up their efforts, while we were free to address the immediate need of clean-up. Thankfully, we were able to save all the items that had gotten wet, and we gained a fun story and team nickname too.


ExactHire specializes in providing hiring solutions for the SMB market. As a small business that seeks to leverage technology for continued growth, we understand the value and power of affordable technology backed by reliable customer support. To learn how our hiring solutions can enhance your HR operations, contact us today!

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