What are the characteristics of a good employee?

Knowing the characteristics of a good employee positions an employer to hire best fit job candidates and build a culture that supports positive employee engagement. Many employers will define what makes a good employee as a combination of soft and hard skills. But skills can only go so far in making someone a great employee. Personal characteristics such as hard work, determination, and critical thinking are crucial in identifying great employees too.

In this post, we explore seven characteristics or traits that make good employees.

7 Characteristics of Good Employees

Improve productivity, build a stronger work culture, and increase employee engagement by hiring good employees with the following characteristics.

1. Dedication

Dedication is the trait of having a strong sense of commitment and loyalty to your career role or business. Moreover, dedicated employees are purpose-driven in their careers. Dedication is exemplified by the following traits:

  • A strong passion for work or profession
  • A positive attitude towards profession or job
  • Punctuality for work-related events, meetings, or projects
  • Flexibility when assigned roles, duties, or tasks

Dedicated employees don’t need extensive experience to succeed. Rather, they’re willing to learn, train, or sacrifice the hours required to excel in their work. These employees are purpose-driven and goal-oriented. They’re ready to strengthen any areas that may need reinforcement to excel in their careers.

2. Confidence

Confidence, performance, and productivity go hand-in-hand. Confident employees are not only sure of their abilities, talents, and skills; they’re also willing to convince other employees of their ability to get the job done.

Confident employees are not scared by complex tasks or undertakings. They know they can research, consult, and collaborate to get results. This translates into confident employees being able to complete more complicated, harder, or sophisticated tasks with the same level of effectiveness.

As employee confidence grows, employees exhibit the following traits:

  • Seeking ways to improve personal and professional skills.
  • Adapting fast to new roles and new tasks
  • Knowing when to seek help

Employees exhibiting high confidence levels find new ways to adapt to challenging tasks. They’re ready and willing to embrace workplace challenges. Confidence includes the ability to look at new ways to overcome challenges, including optimizing existing resources (personal, equipment, or knowledge).

3. Communicative

Excellent communication skills are a must-have to succeed. That’s because most workplaces only excel with effective internal communications. Processes and procedures must be conveyed to relevant people employees, and outcomes must be communicated back.

Managers need excellent communication skills to convey instructions, guidelines, and policies to middle-level and lower-level employees. Similarly, employees need great communication skills to converse with upper management about their responsibilities and whether they understand directions clearly or not.

Relaying information quickly and efficiently is critical, especially in industries where data is crucial to operational success. This makes communication skills a top priority to look for in candidates, as well one that should be foster through processes and work culture.

Excellent communication skills can lead to success and competitive positioning. The ability to communicate denotes the ability to collaborate on shared tasks. That, in turn, leads to greater efficiency and productivity.

4. Reliability

Reliability is perhaps the most sought-after characteristic of an employee in most industries. A reliable employee is trusted and transparent. Reliable employees have strong moral codes and ethical standards.

Reliability is a critical factor in ensuring that the job will get done – and done well! Reliable employees are strategic assets because they can do the job with little or no supervision.

Being a reliable employee includes:

  • Consistently meeting deadlines
  • Coming to work on time
  • Attending work-related seminars and events
  • Showing a readiness to take on responsibility
  • Giving high-quality work
  • Showing initiative when needed

Reliable employees are especially valuable in industries with highly sensitive information, including personal data, credit card numbers, and social security numbers.

5. Teamwork

The importance of teamwork and collaboration cannot be over-emphasized. Teamwork is a requirement in most work settings. Teamwork and collaboration require dedication, tolerance, openess, and patience.

Being a team player means you’re a positive contribution to your team. It’s possible to exhibit a set of other desirable characteristics by being a team player. For instance, most team players are communicative.

Some of the traits and characteristics of good team players include:

  • Committed to their success and their team’s
  • Strong problem-solvers
  • Supportive and respectful
  • Responsible and reliable
  • Flexible and adaptable

Organizations that rely heavily on teamwork often need greater adaptability. For instance, a team member who can flexibly adapt to being a leader will be an important contributor to the organization.

6. Independence

The ability to work alone is just as important as the ability to collaborate. Even in heavily team-oriented companies, employees will likely find themselves doing some work alone. This is necessary and healthy, as it provides employees time to focus and complete work more efficiently. Independent work requires respect and trust between co-workers and managers that work will be completed independently and efficiently!

Autonomous employees offer the following qualities:

  • Strong time-management skills
  • Ability to review and critique work or projects
  • Strong focus
  • High productivity

Remote employees must be trusted to work independently without supervision. And since remote work calls for greater autonomy, independent employees can adapt faster to working remotely.

7. Leadership

There’s a debate on whether leaders are born or made. However, what’s not debated is that great leaders are admired, loved, and are hard to come across. But what makes great leadership?

Well, leadership is the ability to motivate a group of people towards a common and shared goal. This requires vision, strategy, and confidence, and communication. Great leaders must have a vision and leverage their teams’ efforts to achieve a defined goal.

Employees with strong leadership skills can move companies forward. They can guide team members toward developing their skills. Influential leaders have a wide range of skills, including honesty, reliability, and self-confidence.

Leaders exhibit the following traits:

  • Give constructive feedback instead of being judgmental
  • Show great empathy to fellow team members
  • Act as a source of inspiration to fellow team members
  • Strong ability to identify a team’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Confidence in their ability to lead teams
  • Strong organizational skills

Leadership is a critical quality. People with strong leadership skills are usually promoted by an organization into a more strategic role. That’s because internal recruitment or promotion from within helps companies cut recruitment costs.

Likewise, hiring someone who shows strong leadership skills gives others someone to look up to, which increases organization and productivity in the workplace.

ExactHire – Solutions to Hire Good Employees

ExactHire is a provider of custom hiring solutions to employers of all industries and sectors. We provide applicant tracking software, employee onboarding software, and full service hiring (where we do the hard work of delivering you candidates to hire).

Contact ExactHire to refine and enhance your search for good employees.


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Employee Onboarding Efficiency

Onboarding was adopted in the 1970s as a management term for introducing newly hired employees into the organization. Onboarding is the mechanism by which job candidates are introduced to the organization by obtaining the relevant knowledge, skills, and behaviors to operate effectively. It also covers the end-to-end process of integrating new hires into the workplace to effectively meet their roles. The integration process includes: setting up new workstations and familiarization with the company’s culture, roles, and expectations. Onboarding further captures the orientation of the new hire with existing employees.

Why is onboarding important in the HRM process?

Onboarding is an indispensable component of the human resource management. The onboarding element gives life to the human resource function, enabling HR managers to meet their human capital planning needs. How?

1.) Gives New Hires Capacity

When you think about your first day at work, chances are you were excited to land a new job but nervous to learn and start right away! If you don’t receive enough instructions and guidance that resonate with your feelings and emotions, you won’t get the capacity to speed up in your new role.

Onboarding gives new hires direction, support, and guidance to succeed in their assigned roles. Employee onboarding integrates new hires, creating an ecosystem of learning and adaptation. This, in the long-term, helps new hires or employees learn and adapt to the company growth.

2.) Retention

Onboarding lets employees learn and gain knowledge of diverse cultural and behavioral issues around your organization. It is a stepping stool to your organization’s higher ideals.

Most importantly, the internalization of organizational values and cultures that happens during orientation and onboarding exercises helps with retention. Retention levels are reported to be higher in organizations that foster cultural conformity and cultural awareness.

3.) Productivity

Another benefit of onboarding in the HR process is that it enables human resources to reach productivity goals (or capacity) faster. If your employees do not receive adequate help from hiring managers or co-workers, and they constantly have to figure things out on their own, your company is likely to lose revenue that these hires would otherwise be bringing.

However, if new hires go through a well-developed and robust onboarding exercise, they will learn and adapt faster. Onboarding helps employees to settle and start adding value to the team.

How to make the onboarding experience more efficient?

There are many things you can do to help new hires when designing the onboarding process. For instance, you can send them a gift card, or a welcome package, arrange for lunch, or prepare dinner with colleagues.

Whatever you decide to include in your onboarding process, there are several steps to take to make onboarding more efficient.

Top 3 keys to an efficient onboarding program

1.) Communicate early

Communication is the cornerstone of any efficient onboarding process. If you’re considering hiring new candidates, establish potential communication channels. Ensure you communicate with them regularly and show that you’re looking forward to having them on your team.

Regular communication and outreach, coupled with feedback mechanisms from potential hires are key in reinforcing your onboarding. You can send them an employee handbook or prepare a presentation about the company’s history and philosophy. Either way, you stand to build rapport with potentially talented candidates if you foster your communication and outreach approach.

2.) Plan extensively

It’s advisable to plan if you’re to succeed in your onboarding. Prepare the new hire’s first-week schedule. Have everything laid out for them. Most new hires are uncertain of what is expected during their first week.

When hires arrive, they’re uncertain of their work. It’s up to you to show that you’re fully prepared to guide and direct them towards meeting their goals and purpose. So, it’s advisable to prepare a detailed plan for their first week at work.

Check all the important boxes like workstation arrangement, giving tools for work, and evaluating their comprehension of work requirements. Extensive planning is the key to building an efficient onboarding process.

3.) Friendly welcome

The first day has a lot of implications on the hire’s overall perception. Be positive, friendly, and enthusiastic when welcoming your new hires. Give the new hire a company walk-through – from the workstation, kitchen, washrooms, rec room ping pong table – to the manager’s office.

It’s advisable to provide a feedback platform or channel. That’s because most new hires are faced with challenges they can’t overcome. And without a proper feedback mechanism or communication channel, they may fail to execute their duties effectively.

Friendly gestures are an important incentive for the onboarding process.

Why is effective onboarding important?

Effective onboarding is the secret to excellent human capital planning. When human resources hire and onboard effectively, they help organizations properly manage their human resources and optimize their workforces.

So, why is effective onboarding important?

1.) Employee experience

An efficient onboarding process leads to a strong employee experience. After the Covid-19 pandemic, job openings are at an all-time high, meaning job seekers have plenty of job opportunities around.

If your new hires don’t enjoy their first-time experience, they can find better opportunities that suit them. A great onboarding process sets out the foundation for employee experience and engagement.

Remain focused on aspects like frequent check-ins, employee culture, and employee professional development to improve the job candidate’s first-time experience. Indeed, being actively engaged in the onboarding process reinforces the overall experience – from hiring to retirement!

2.) Employee engagement

Employee engagement refers to the strength of psychological, emotional, and mental connection that employees feel to their organizations, their teams, and their work. This helps employees to remain psychologically and emotionally connected to their job.

Highly engaged employees share many characteristics:

  • Better employee safety
  • Increased productivity
  • Higher attendance rates for work-related events
  • Happier and healthier employees
  • Readiness to take on new challenges
  • Improved customer satisfaction
  • Lower employee turnover rates
  • Improved business growth and outcomes

Employee engagement determines employees overall performance and productivity.

3.) Employee retention

Onboarding efficiency is critical in retaining employees. There’s a rising demand for highly skilled employees in tech – programming, software development, data architecture, and cloud computing.

Indeed, the demand for highly skilled employees in mathematics, sciences, and technology continues to highlight the need to attract and retain personnel qualified in these areas.

So, organizations dealing with data and businesses adopting the technology will have to look at onboarding efficiency as an element of employee retention. These organizations will have to view onboarding efficiency as a tool for human capital planning.

ExactHire – Streamlining Employee Onboarding and Internalization

The emergence of new automation tools and software has helped streamline hiring. For instance, ExactHire provides an applicant tracking system that assists HR managers track applications and improve the speed and accuracy of processing applications.

In addition, ExactHire provides employee onboarding software that helps you keep track of all your onboarding processes – from inception to completion. ExactHire’s employee onboarding software is a custom solution for organizations seeking to improve the efficiency of their onboarding, whether on-premise or remotely.

Contact ExactHire to access the employee onboarding software and improve your employee onboarding efficiency.



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Why Would an Employee Want Pay Equity?

Today’s companies can only expect to grow and scale when they’re able to attract and retain the best talent. The hiring landscape is vastly different today, too. Candidates are interviewing your organization just as much as you’re interviewing them. And one aspect of your company operations and culture that matters is pay equity.

If you’re wondering why a career professional might care about how you structure pay for everyone else, keep reading. There’s more to pay equity than you might know. We’ll get into the core definitions and benefits of adopting a fair and equitable pay platform, as well as answer why any employee might want pay equity.

Understanding Pay Equity

Don’t mistake pay equity with pay equality. The terms encompass different ideas. Pay equity typically refers to equal pay for equal work, regardless of the employees’ demographics. This pay includes all aspects of compensation, including base salary, bonuses, overtime rates, benefits, and opportunities for advancement.

Alternatively, pay equality often refers to the same ideology – equal pay for equal work. However, pay equity dives deeper into understanding why people might fall into varied demographics and how to level the playing field with those pay disparities.

When you’re looking to incorporate pay equity practices into your organization, you’ll consider these more common demographic classes that might impact a candidate’s earning potential:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Disability
  • Religion
  • Gender
  • Sexual Orientation

For many employers, pay equity is an umbrella concept that encompasses all issues related to fair compensation. For your business, it’s a lens through which all of your pay and benefits decisions should be made.

How Pay Equity Benefits Employers

Pay equity isn’t just an employee-facing term. There are actually a host of advantages a business can leverage when pay equity and fairness concepts are involved. For starters, you can attract a broader and more diverse workforce when you promote pay equity enforcement. Focusing on fairness among the ranks will also help to reduce turnover since staff will want to work for an organization that promotes awareness and equitable best practices. Workplace loyalty matters, especially as you explore better employee retention strategies.

For many small businesses, there are also compliance concerns to note. Providing equitable pay initiatives will ensure you remain aligned with state and local employment laws. The number of employee lawsuits regarding pay has grown in recent years, only solidifying the need to address pay and benefits practices.

What Today’s Candidates Are Looking for in a Company

Pay equity isn’t a trendy nuance to be overlooked. In today’s hiring market, applicants are more decisive about the employers they choose. And they’re looking at your company culture more intently than ever before. Unfortunately, there are still major pay disparities out there, despite many organizations’ best efforts to address them. In fact, a study in 2021 showed that women are still earning an average of 82 cents for every dollar earned by men. And for those who represent women of color, that wage gap is even broader. Shockingly, the Economic Policy Institute found that wage gaps among black and white employees were actually more significant in 2016 than they were back in 1979.

With the onset of social media and celebrity activism, pay equity has been brought back to the forefront of today’s workplace discussion. And it’s a hot-button topic for candidates right now as they explore new career options. If you want to effectively attract and retain the best staff, pay equity needs to be at the forefront of your company’s initiatives.

How Companies Ensure Pay Equity Best Practices

To embrace an equitable pay platform, it requires a series of efforts that address more than just pay and benefits. Companies are also exploring complex causes, including systemic contributors to wage disparities. There are strategies you can be implementing to identify and address social norms in the workplace, biases, and advancement opportunities. And pay equity can be monitored with proper wage audits.

When developing a pay equity audit process for your company, consider the following key elements for the equation.

First combine all the annual salaries of your full-time and year-round employees who represent the demographic you’re looking to compare. Then determine the median salary for each demographic. Finally compare the median salaries for each demographic to each other to identify pay gaps.

This is just one of many calculations used to uncover wage disparities. But if you’re not already auditing your company’s pay and benefits platforms, it’s a great place to start. From there, you can also explore other audit methods that might include comparing weekly salaries or benefits considerations. Whatever audit process you use, make sure you’re measuring equally across the board and in conjunction with any federal or state wage laws.

How to Have the Pay Equity Discussion with Your Teams

Half the battle in addressing pay equity is creating an equitable set of processes by which your company abides. The other half of the effort involves communicating your pay equity strategies to your employees and potential candidates. So, how can your company roll out its plans for addressing pay equity, so everyone understands your initiatives? Consider these best practices as you develop your communications strategy:

  • Make sure your compensation systems and platforms are transparent. This might include sharing goals, metrics, performance, and advancement requirements.
  • Communicate regularly, not just about the roll-out initiatives, but about ongoing efforts to improve pay equity.
  • Provide ample and thorough training for all your managers and supervisors about the hiring, compensation, and retention strategies you have in place.
  • Standardize pay ranges and guidelines for the various roles and responsibilities within your company.
  • Audit and improve job descriptions ongoing to make sure you’re promoting your need for diverse, skills-based employees, offering equitable pay for all.

As you wrap up Q4 for your business and forge new strategies and recruiting initiatives for the new year, consider looking closely at your pay equity. It’s a new hiring market, and today’s companies are improving their cultures to attract top talent. Pay equity plays a big role in that conversation and effort. And ExactHire can help you realign your company’s position to embrace fairness and equity in a way that attracts the best employees.


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The Great Remorse

Since COVID-19 changed the world in 2020 emotions have been elevated. Human Resources professionals continue to ride an emotional roller coaster as they diligently try to fill job openings, minimize attrition and reduce spending in an ultra-competitive job market with more openings than talent can readily fill. However, HR professionals are not the only individuals full of uncertainty at this time.

COVID-19 was the catalyst for job seekers to maximize their job satisfaction. In all career fields, no matter if hourly or salary, an increasing number of employees decided to redefine their lives by choosing to leave their current role in hopes of attaining a role that would offer a better work-life balance to acquire a sense of mental renewal and improve logistics. Some individuals who hit their threshold gambled and exited without acquiring a new job. This mass exodus of employees leaving their employing organizations in hopes of greener pastures was coined “The Great Resignation”.

“The Great Resignation”

According to findings from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 47 million Americans quit their jobs in 2022 compared to only 42 million workers who quit in 2019. A multitude of reasons exist as to why Americans were quitting their jobs, but the main reasons include low pay, lack of advancement, work disrespect, child care challenges, and lack of flexibility. During the pandemic many fields were thrust into remote work. As employees became acclimated to the flexibility and benefits of remote work, their preference, and even need, for it increased.

When companies sought to bring employees back onsite, numerous employees rebelled at that request and started searching for something different. Many employees believed that something better existed somewhere, so they submitted their resignation and took a giant leap into the unknown. For many individuals, that leap into uncertainty proved successful, as they landed a new role that fulfilled missing needs. Not all pastures turned out to be greener though.

For others, the uncertainty transitioned into remorse as they did not find something better than what they had. What they found was often worse than what they anticipated leading into the expanding ideology called the “The Great Remorse”.

“The Great Remorse”

Research is showing that many job seekers are starting to question their decision to quit their previous role. According to a Harris poll, two-thirds of job seekers feel they should have started looking for a new job sooner. Another 67% feel that it would have been easier to find a job in 2021 as compared to this year. What is startling is this statistic:  approximately 72% of job seekers say that companies are ignoring applications. This is by either not scheduling interviews, or ghosting applicants. While time is of the essence in the Human Resources world, taking time to acknowledge submitted applications and informing applicants that they were not selected for the role in which they applied is an essential professional behavior.

HR Communication

Communication with all applicants shows professionalism reflective of the Human Resources department and organization as a whole. Even more, it is ultimately a kind gesture to communicate the status in the hiring process to an applicant. No applicant wants to be rejected, but at least the applicant will receive some closure. Instead they are left wondering if or when they might be acknowledged. The applicant that is rejected for one position might be the best talent for another open position. This makes it imperative that an organization leave the applicant with a positive view of the hiring process for potential future positions.

Ghosting is the concept of communicating with individuals and then no longer responding. This is not a concept that HR wants to be perceived as doing with applicants. Work loads are undoubtedly heavy for Human Resources personnel. However, active communication engaging applicants in the hiring process keeps applicants more satisfied. It allows them to know more of what the expectations and next steps are in the hiring process. ExactHire HR Software can streamline communication with applicants offering the convenience of emailing or texting communication with applicants. Communication is quick and easy.  Create unique messages or customize existing communication templates to allow software users to craft messages that can be personalized towards one or more applicants.

Impacts of The Great Remorse

In March 2022, a Harris poll showed that over one-third of those who quit during the previous year were regretting that decision as work-life balance either did not improve, or it worsened. Their new job was not what they thought it would be, or they actually missed their previous organization’s culture. Another study indicated that nearly 20% percent of resigned employees returned to their previous company. Employees who leave their employer, work at a different employer, and then return to their previous employer are called “boomerang workers”.

LinkedIn data reveals that the number of boomerang employees increased from 2% of all new hires in 2010 to 4.3% in 2022. Not all employees are employees that an organization might want back on the payroll; however, if employees leave on good terms and have proven themselves as successful contributors to the organization, it is beneficial for the organization to consider rehiring them. Boomerang employees offer many benefits to an organization. They are familiar with the organizational culture and job responsibilities so less time is spent on onboarding them.

They also have a higher time to productivity ratio. The company saves a tremendous amount of money as they do not have to invest time and financial resources. They don’t have to post a vacancy, screen applicants, conduct interviews and offering the role to an applicant. The applicant might then decline the role, but if they accept then you need to onboard a new hire.

Looking at the Future

Human Resources professionals will not forget 2022 anytime soon. As 2023 rapidly approaches, HR professionals and management can make resolutions to welcome boomerang talent. If previous employees reach out with regret for leaving, listen to what they say and what their needs are. Listen, not hear but listen, to their words, and evaluate the current situation, reasons for their departure and what they can provide to the company.

Employees are human, and the last three years have taken an emotional toll on everyone. The grass is not always greener on the other side, but taking time to care for oneself can lead to having a greener pasture. For some individuals, it takes time to realize that. If a former employee wants to come back to an employer, the employer can benefit from keeping the door open to boomerang employees. This allows all entities to thrive in a renewed environment supportive of each others’ needs.

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When to invest in an Applicant Tracking System

Small business owners champion the definition of the “entrepreneurial spirit”. They are resourceful, intuitive and resilient. They are wise to know that success is built and maintained upon the formulation of a cohesive, talented team. Finding employees who integrate fully into the small business culture can be a challenge.

Organizations of all sizes are fiercely competing for prime talent. While big businesses might be more flashy and visible with offerings to attract talent, small businesses can successfully compete. To yield the best talent, small businesses need to demonstrate what all they have to offer. They can do this through a unique, personalized employee value proposition.

When small businesses boldly communicate exciting duties, growth opportunities and a welcoming, inclusive culture, that message will resonate loudly to applicants. Applicant tracking systems allow you to complete this in an effective way.

How do I hire the best employee for my small business?

As a small business’s needs evolve, it is important for the owner and leaders to assess hiring needs first. Identify the specific knowledge and skill set(s) missing for increased productivity. Analyzing which skills are sought, and where there is room for growth, allows decision makers to accurately identify the role(s) needed. While small business leaders often explore internal talent  to determine if anyone else can assume extra duties, it is crucial to first discuss assigning extra responsibilities with employees in order to acquire their feedback and determine the risk of burnout. Overwhelming current employees with additional responsibilities can lead to turnover, and small businesses cannot afford to lose contributing talent.

Once small business leaders have identified the need to hire, examine what kind of employee will best meet the company’s needs. Is the best fit for the company a full-time employee with benefits (most expensive)? A part-time employee less than 30 hours weekly without benefits (not as expensive)? Or an independent contractor who does not utilize benefits or training (least expensive)? Comparing projected income and costs between these classifications will help identify the type and number of employees a company can afford to hire.

How do I get employees for my small business?

Filling vacancies is a fiercely competitive challenge in the current market. Employers of all sizes are increasing pay hoping to attract employees. This puts more of a challenge on small businesses whose budgets are tighter. While it is important to keep salaries in alignment with market rates, money is not everything. Offering a quality benefits package helps. Consider including employee perks such as flexible and/or remote schedule. Unlimited or enhanced time off andvolunteer opportunities during the workday help too. Fitness opportunities, and a casual dress code to attract additional interest can help sway candidates to your company too. Professional development opportunities? Yes, please!

Any opportunity for additional skills development or professional certification is a motivator. It is also an investment in employees that funnels back into the company. Adding unique perks positions a small business to stand out from other businesses. Additionally, it shows a commitment to employees’ social, mental and physical wellbeing. Promote benefits and perks online and in job listings. Small businesses tend to have a close-knit culture. Highlight team activities on the company’s website and social media channels so applicants can view the fun.

Job descriptions are often the first impression of a company to a jobseeker so it is crucial that those descriptions are magnetizing. Pinpoint particular skills in the job description. So the applicant has an accurate idea of daily duties, list realistic and specific job responsibilities. While it is important to give a thorough description, too much information is overwhelming. Keep the info amount to what is expected for daily performance.

How much money do you need to hire an employee?

According to LinkedIn, small businesses spend an average of $1,600 annually on hiring. That money is often spent on direct job postings and manual efforts by hiring personnel. Small businesses seek to utilize Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) to streamline the hiring process by automating numerous manual functions. Time saved by using an ATS provides small business leaders a way to spend more time on strategic functions and addressing small businesses’ needs.

If business is slower during a specific time frame, use that off-peak time for ATS purchasing and implementation.  Evaluate ATS features thoroughly, and work with the provider’s support team to use the tool efficiently to solve the unique needs of a small business. Having a resourceful ATS support team receptive to questions will favorably enhance ATS users’ experience. With the end of the year rapidly approaching, small business leaders need to consider using available budget funds to invest in an ATS to start the new year with increased simplicity, organization and efficiency.

What features do Applicant Tracking System’s possess that help small businesses?

Often, small business employees juggle many different roles. Human Resources, Marketing, Training…the list goes on. Time management is the name of the game in small business life, so when options exist to automate functions, it not only saves time but also money.  An applicant tracking system redefines internal organization. Using an ATS eliminates file folders of confidential material helping to support recruitment compliance objectives.

An applicant tracking system can securely house data, and decision makers can customize access levels of the platform. Jobseekers are constantly on the go so having an applicant tracking system that offers texting helps reach individuals quicker in a fast-paced world. Job searching needs to be mobile friendly so an applicant tracking system must have the capabilities to be navigable on mobile devices. QR codes offer quick ways for applicants to apply. For employees and jobseekers on-the-go, an ATS delivers information within a few clicks anywhere and everywhere. Complete convenience for everyone involved in the recruitment process.

What needs does a small business have that an Applicant Tracking System would solve?

An applicant tracking system provides a buffet of job board options to meet small businesses’ needs and enhance visibility. Integrating with major job boards to automate the job posting process saves time and money for a small business. Use social media sites, niche job boards, and state job boards offered within an ATS to reach an expanded audience. An ATS offering the ability to filter applicants through screening questions and disqualification filters eliminate unqualified applicants, saving time in the screening process. For small businesses subject to EEO/AAP reporting, an ATS will simplify reporting as data is collected electronically and securely stored.

How do I hire the best talent?

As small business leaders examine applicant data, ideally using an ATS, examine the applicants’ data closely. Rate and rank preferred applicants based on qualifications for the role. Interview those top candidates who show a sincere desire to work in the small business culture. Bring finalists back for a group interview to gauge soft skills.

Upon conclusion of the group discussion, make a decision based on qualifications and feedback. Do not delay in offering the position to the first choice applicant as that person might be enticed by a different employer. After the role is filled, ensure that all applicants have received some form of communication letting them know they were not selected. Receiving an update, even if a rejection, gives applicants a sense of closure. Explore the use of mass communication options within an ATS when sending a rejection or other forms of communication.

As small business leaders journey through the hiring process, collect data and evaluate the process. Setting benchmarks and using data to identify success points and areas for improvement will make the next hiring process easier and less expensive. A robust ATS will offer automation and reporting tools to assist small business leaders analyze metrics such as time to fill and time to hire and identify the source of applicants. Having the ability to create unique reports within an ATS to track measurable data is essential in strategic planning.

Talent sourcing for small business can seem like a daunting task, but finding the right ATS for small business will make the hiring process easier. Using an ATS to automate tasks will close existing gaps in a manual hiring process improving productivity and enhancing the company’s brand. An ATS is an investment that will increase a small business’s competitive edge against large companies when recruiting stellar talent

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5 Ways to Create Positive Work Culture

Creating a positive work culture isn’t just a trend anymore. Today’s leaders are recognizing that the primary way to attract and retain top performers and quality staff is by providing a great place to work. And there are a variety of elements that go into defining what a positive work culture is.

In this post, we’ll discuss the challenges you might be facing in building  positive work culture, along with some solutions. There are five pivotal ways to make significant improvements to your company’s work environment. Here’s what you can be doing to make improvements within your business.

How to Define a Positive Work Culture

Happiness is subject to personal preference. What one employee values most may only be an afterthought benefit to another. So how are today’s employers able to discern what constitutes a positive work culture? It boils down to active listening.

Employees aren’t likely to be as demanding as some of the polarizing news headlines suggest. In fact, employees can be rather forgiving about a company’s growing pains…as long as they feel valued and heard. To meet these needs, employers should consider anonymous feedback strategies, such as launching online surveys or even soliciting employee suggestions with a “suggestion box” (yes, it can still work).

Alternatively, inviting employee perspectives can be an exercise in employer-employee transparency. This could take the form of one-on-one conversations between managers and reports, solely for the purpose of exchanging improvement ideas. This approach requires accountability and trust–two important characteristics of a positive work culture.

The more active employers are in learning what inspires employees, the better positioned they are to develop a positive work environment that fuels their inspiration.

Common Characteristics of a Positive Work Culture

There will be unique aspects to how a company defines and executes a positive work environment. This requires employers to get creative with what makes sense in supporting their teams. But a few general characteristics of a positive work culture include:

  • Employees feel empowered to take on new responsibilities and leadership roles.
  • Workers feel satisfied with their performance and metrics.
  • Staff loyalty increases when they’re appreciated, challenged, and encouraged.
  • Individuals feel compelled to problem-solve instead of departmentalizing or “passing the buck.”

If you believe your teams follow these examples, you’re moving in the right direction for creating a positive work culture. However, if you’re experiencing alternative behaviors, it could be a sign that your company culture needs improvement.

Contributing to a Positive Work Culture

Cultivating a positive company culture requires ongoing initiatives. People change, and so do their values. Additionally,  when organizations grow, they add new dynamics to their workforces. Company culture initiatives, then, should be looked at as an evolving effort. Here are five ways to contribute to improving a work culture.

1. Identify Company Mission, Vision, and Values

This may require an employer to go back to its startup roots, revisiting founding documents. A mission statement should be a constant reminder to employees as that their work matters, so it’s important that the statement is accurate and authentic. Values inform a workforce how they should work in fulfilling a mission–this differentiates a company from competitors and inspires loyalty. Finally, when an employer establishes a vision, it ensures that the impact of the mission will continue to grow and inspire employees to perform.

Once the foundational pieces are reviewed–and refreshed if needed–employers must promote them across the organization so that each individual can understand and support big-picture objectives. Everyone must be held accountable for supporting these objectives, especially managers. The goal is to develop an employee base that can become just as passionate and energized about the company as the C-level.

When employees see how their work matters, they will feel more connected to their coworkers and employer. And that’s the best foundation for a positive work culture, according to Forbes.

2. Manage and Establish Realistic Expectations

Harmony and consistency are key ingredients in the positive workplace. To achieve them, employers must first establish and maintain clear expectations. When a workforce precisely understands what is expected of them, they’ll be more apt to follow those guidelines. And for the overachievers and top performers, knowing where the bar is set will allow them to determine how to go above and beyond.

Unpredictability in management harbors distrust and staff-level contempt. So employers must make sure that managers know their expectations, too. Finally, it is ideal for employers to share companywide, departmental, and specific role expectations with everyone. The transparency will breed an environment of trust and respect, which is essential for positive workplaces.

3. Employees Need to Feel Valued

It’s more than just catered office lunches, front-row parking, or workplace happy hours. Yes, those are all great for promoting team unity and corporate appreciation. However, employees are most satisfied when they feel valued. Company culture is rooted in the individual’s daily experiences. It’s their day-to-day routine that shapes their beliefs about the company. And it’s in those daily routines where employers can improve how they share appreciation for valuable contributions. Check out these stats:

  • 90% of employees who feel their work and presence are valued agree they are more motivated to do their best.
  • 33% of employees who don’t feel valued will perform their best.
  • 83% of executives believe having motivated employees contributes to a company’s success.
  • 84% of employees believe that motivated teams substantially contribute to a company’s success.

4. Foster an Environment of Collaboration

There is a commonly shared school of thought that promotes a “stay in your lane” approach to productivity. And yes, for some companies, those guidelines serve a valuable purpose. However, fostering an environment that welcomes collaboration will develop a company’s culture. When everyone can pitch in to solve a problem or provide insights into company challenges, it sends the message to the employee that his or her opinion and expertise matter. Sharing ideas and improvements lead to innovation, as well.

Employers must do the work by actually hosting these team meetings and asking for departmental and companywide insights. They can’t just promote teamwork as a value and not follow through on initiatives that support it.

5. Communication Has to Flow Freely

Leadership and management within an organization should encourage open and honest dialogues between colleagues, departments, and managers. Employers may consider auditing company communication to see who is interacting with who and what feedback is being processed.

Coffee mornings, team contests, and inter-departmental activities can help people feel connected to others outside of their daily routines. And appropriate levels of management should welcome complaints, suggestions, and ideas for swift follow-up and solutions.

What Inclusivity Means in Today’s Workplace

Inclusivity is another element of a positive workplace. It’s a pillar element worth protecting and supporting. It means every member of an organization has value, is treated with respect, and is provided with the same support and opportunities. Anyone challenging that level playing field should be removed before setting a toxic workplace example. Individual differences contribute to an organization’s productivity, and  tolerance of anything else will only undermine positive culture initiatives.

Keep these company insights in mind as you continue to develop and improve your company’s culture. And when you’re ready to grow your teams, let ExactHire be your guide to finding top talent that fits in with your culture!



Photo by Windows on Unsplash

3 Ways to Improve Employee Retention

Employee retention is the secret ingredient for long-term growth and competitive differentiation. Employers that hold fast to their best talent can wade off any storms, including pandemics, market competition, and even regulation.

For these reasons, retaining best talent must be a priority for employers.

Why is Employee Retention Important?

Organizations that successfully retain employees experience benefits beyond the saving of training and hiring costs. High retention helps attract the best talent as a company grows. This is because high employee retention rates contribute to:

  • Consistency in operations leading to efficiency and growth
  • Better customer experiences
  • A strong company culture that fosters employee engagement.

When you think about the importance of retention, don’t just consider long-term savings and benefits. High turnover can be costly by leading to financial deficits and the inability to fund required operational expenditures.

Statistics show that turnover alone costs the United States $1 trillion annually. This figure represents a trillion reasons companies must prioritize retention.

But many may ask, why such a high price tag?

Well, that’s because when employees leave a company, there are some costs to consider.

These costs include:

  • Lower morale levels for those left behind
  • Money and time to replace employees, including recruitment and onboarding costs
  • Reduced concentration and productivity
  • Lost knowledge and expertise that lead to inefficiency

Gallup estimates that replacing an employee may cost almost twice as much as hiring them.

So in order to avoid the costs of turnover and reap the benefits high retention, improve employee retention before the first day in these three ways.

Ways to Improve Employee Retention Before the First Day

1.) Write a great Job Description

A great job description should not only attract the best candidates, it should set accurate, positive expectations. This includes laying out company mission and values and, importantly, how current employees live them out.  Don’t hide company values as bullet points near the bottom of a description, as applicants are likely to gloss over them or view them as unimportant. Instead, tie your values to the job requirements.  Writing a great job description that tells a job seeker what to expect–beyond the job duties–is the first step to landing the best candidates.

How to write the best job descriptions?

  • Get the job title right. Ensure you capture the right title for the right job. Avoid fluff and be straightforward as to the nature of the job.
  • Short and sweet. It’s advisable to start with a succinct and straightforward job description. Give an engaging overview of the job, its history, role, and requirements.
  • Modifiers. It’s advisable to avoid extreme modifiers or superlatives. Superlatives include over-the-top languages like ‘best-of-the-best’, ninjas, Rockstars, and world-class tend to prevent potential candidates from applying. Instead, be straightforward.
  • Align responsibilities with growth. Ensure that the roles and duties captured in the job description align or reiterate the candidate’s possibility for development. Match the job requirements with the candidate’s expectations for continued professional growth.
  • Involve current hires. It is advisable to involve current employees in drafting job descriptions. Too often, job descriptions remain hidden in an HR department. Involving current employees may help provide a compelling illustration of the organization that best highlights a workplace.
  • Create urgency. There’s no denying that even if you’re not in dire need of workers or employees, you still want potential candidates to feel obliged to apply now. So, your job description must show urgency.

2.) Center Hiring Process Around Culture

Culture is a critical component of the hiring process. Unfortunately, many recruiters don’t realize how culture impacts recruitment and retention.

Have you ever encountered an organization that claims to have ‘respect’ as a core value, but then doesn’t promptly follow up with its applicants? This is an example of an employer that enshrines the opposite of what they exemplify in behavior. Any good candidate will quickly run away from the process.

Employers must promote values and culture that they can actually backup. This works both ways by attracting the right candidates and discouraging bad-fit candidates from applying. Organizational culture is at the center of the hiring process when everything reflects your culture – from the application process to conducting your interviews, negotiating offers, and onboarding new hires.

3.) Mentorship Programs

Employees want to feel appreciated. Most importantly, they want to grow with the company. The best way to retain employees, even when others are leaving, is to help them feel that they are important part of the company and its success.

Mentorship programs are a classic way of engaging employees and building long-term loyalty and trust. Employees who feel part of  a culture will remain loyal to an employer even when things get tough.

Mentorship programs help new hires feel part of the company by clarifying values and onboarding the employee–physically, emotionally, and psychologically.

Mentorship programs achieve the following:

  • Extend opportunities for professional and career development
  • Improved productivity and onboarding
  • Building diversity
  • Leadership development
  • Creates opportunities for reverse mentoring
  • Supports and sustains a learning culture

There’s no denying that pairing up a new hire with a mentor is a great addition to the onboarding experience – particularly in a highly technical role, or when the hire is working remotely.

Mentors can welcome new hires to the company, offer guidance, and act as role models. In addition, hires can learn the ropes from experienced employees, creating a culture of continuity and momentum in workload processing and workflow activities.

ExactHire – Improving Your Employee Onboarding and Retention

ExactHire believes that the onboarding process begins long before hiring an employee–with proper planning, resources, and a strong work culture. We work with professionals from multiple industries – finance, insurance, legal, healthcare, education, administrative, and many more –to help them hire and onboard best-fit talent for their organization. Contact ExactHire to leverage recruitment solutions that breed the highest retention levels.

Importance of Organizational Culture

Recently, I’ve written a couple posts reflecting on content from the HR Indiana SHRM conference. This post builds upon that content by focusing on the importance of organizational culture as it relates to  job candidate motivations. Also note that company culture also factors in to an employee’s motivation to stay at their current place of employment, so the lessons can be applied in both situations.

Let’s discuss some statistics and strategies that an organization can analyze in its quest to hire and retain talent.

According to statistics published by G2:

  • 70% of professionals in the U.S. would not work at a leading company if it meant they had to tolerate bad workplace culture,
  • 77% of job seekers consider a company’s culture before applying for a job, and
  • 92% of people would consider changing jobs if offered a role with a company with an excellent corporate reputation.

These percentages loudly shout a distinct message – culture matters when recruiting new talent and trying to keep existing talent.

What is company culture?

According to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), culture consists of shared beliefs and values established by leaders, and then communicated and reinforced through various methods that ultimately shape employee perceptions, behaviors, and understanding. This is a good definition, but it’s helpful to break it down further to reveal its impact on an organization.

Shared beliefs and values constitute the foundations of company relationships. Leaders communicate and embody an organization’s shared beliefs and values, which are then reinforced through employee behaviors as they strive towards fulfilling mutual goals and personifying the organization’s mission.



ExactHire Importance of Company Culture

Organizational Culture: What it is & What Makes it Sustainable, HR Indiana 2022

Work Relationships and Company Culture

Relationships with teammates and managers are important to employees. Even though the pandemic shifted many work environments into more remote settings, individuals seek to have a “work family” regardless of the physical work location. Just because coworkers are not sitting next to each other onsite does not mean that connections to others are unimportant.

Employees can strategize and learn from each other in formal and informal discussions. Inclusive and diverse teams build high-performance teams. An organization needs to provide ways to allow professional relationships to flourish through on and offsite activities, this will greatly improve company culture.

Now, more than ever, people are seeking teammates and supervisors who understand the stressors resulting from the blending of personal and professional challenges. Empathy and support between employees help foster trust, leading to enhanced mental health and productive work relationships.

Employee Growth

Employee growth is essential for a positive company culture. Companies that promote personal and professional development and provide opportunities for employees to learn and grow on the job are more likely to recruit and retain employees as compared to organizations that do not. Provide ample opportunities for additional hard and soft skill training during the work day.

Lunch and Learns and group training sessions for certifications offer a way for teammates to learn and socialize simultaneously. Online courses through sites like LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda), Udemy or Coursera offer convenient, relevant content. If employee training needs to be facilitated by a university, consider tuition reimbursement plans so employees can take classes, or partner with the university to bring learning onsite.

Learning new skills and applying those skills to daily tasks not only reduces employee boredom but leverages the organization into a more competitive stance amongst competitors. Research by Forbes states that 76% of employees are more likely to stay with a company that offers continuous training. If there are concerns about the expense of creating or expanding a Learning and Development (L&D) budget, what about the expense of having open positions due to attrition and being unable to quickly fill them with skilled talent?

Once talent is hired, there is a gap of heightened productivity and ultimately financial loss while new employees seek to apply their knowledge and skills to the role and become acclimated to their new culture. Investing in learning opportunities for employees is a financial investment that will yield favorable returns.

Creating Expectations

Another cultural expectation of employees is understanding what management expects as quantifiable results demonstrating successful task completion. Delivering results in one’s job duties can be a bit opaque, as people have differing definitions of results. Management needs to provide clear parameters of what is expected of the employee and their performance of assigned job duties.

Having clear-cut duties and expectations will aid in improving company culture by limiting confusion. Job seekers benefit from job descriptions that itemize tasks and outline distinct expectations, as opposed to a generalized, vague job posting.

How does it feel to have a task, but not know what the expected results should be?  Frustrating, agitating, unnerving…these are a few emotions that arise when a job seeker or employee is unsure of what successful performance looks like. Even though the world we live in often falls into the gray, management needs to articulate specific expectations of what outcomes yield successful accomplishments. When employees understand the results expected, it fosters a clearer way to complete tasks and learn from the process as well as improve organizational culture.

Work Flexibility

Flexibility is a key part of culture, especially since 2020. Organizations need to reiterate that they value employees acknowledge their lives exist outside the workplace. When an employer offers flexibility with its employees, it is a motivator. Flexibility can include working locations, times and/or days. Can the employee finish the work in  a four-day work week? If so, consider that flexibility. Can the employee come in earlier and leave earlier or the opposite? If so, consider that flexibility.

Having an open and honest dialogue where the employee and supervisor can discuss needs and expectations will help identify a flexible plan that supports not just the employee but the company as a whole. Individuals seek to effectively balance their personal and professional lives, and flexibility helps achieve that balance.

Becoming a Workplace of Choice

Employees seek to stay in or leave a work environment based on the motivators discussed above. And considering that the average person will spend over 90,000 hours working in their lifetime, spending that time completing tasks that are enjoyable in a generally positive workplace matters.

Help your organization become the workplace of choice, where job seekers want to apply and where employees want to stay. Establish and promote your positive and inclusive organizational culture. This will clearly illustrate to job seekers and current employees that your organization is the workplace to be.

Productivity will rise; attrition will be low; and the positive impact on the local and large-scale communities will be ongoing.


Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

How to write a rejection email for job candidates

A rejection email for job candidates is not always easy to write. And informing an applicant that they were not selected for an open position is definitely not the highlight of a human resources professional’s day. The task is one of the hardest to complete, as no one wants to deliver disappointing news to others. However, rejection is inevitable, even for individuals with a stellar background and coveted skills.

It’s important to keep in mind that we have all experienced rejection at some point in time. Whether it was not being selected for a lucrative job opportunity, or being passed over for a particular award or acknowledgment–we’ve all felt the sting of rejection. Recalling how that sting affected oneself can often lead an HR professional to take extra steps to buffer the disappointment when delivering rejection messages to job applicants. Kindness truly matters.

Can You Kindly Reject Job Candidates?

Jobseekers want to know their status in the application process. Even if it’s a “no”, applicants need to know their status so they can have closure and shift their job search direction. Receiving feedback, even if it is a rejection, is especially instrumental for those applicants who have had some form of interview. Imagine the confusion that a jobseeker might have if they never hear back from an organization after spending time discussing their qualifications and how they seek to contribute to a prospective employer.

A paramount function of HR is to build relationships with individuals. This goes not just for current employees, but also  for prospective employees. What type of relationship can be built if an employer does not update applicants on their application statuses, or let applicants know that they are no longer in consideration for a position?

Starting the rejection conversation is hard, but it demonstrates professionalism within the organization’s HR department and gives the two parties, HR and the jobseeker, an opportunity to form a connection. While this jobseeker might not be the best fit for the particular role in which they applied, that same person might be the person best qualified for a future opening, so don’t burn bridges

Candidate Rejection Letter Template

In the rejection email template sent by an organization, craft the content with sincerity. The sincerity genuinely shown in the rejection email can help the jobseeker stay motivated and interested in your company. Also, this will help mitigate the chance the jobseeker will spread negativity about their applicant experience to others. Word of mouth can be the best or worst recruitment marketing for an employer, so strive to leave applicants with a positive experience.

Time is of the essence in the HR world. Using personalized mass emailing within your ATS will help make the communication process quicker and easier when communicating with applicants. ExactHire HR Software offers the ability for users to create communication templates for immediate and future use. This templates streamline communication with applicants, and allows users to view the communication flow between your team and the applicants.

When crafting communication templates, it is helpful to use personalization tags (AKA shortcuts that personalize content) to customize your message. Personalization tags in a communication template allow the sender to specify items such as name, job listing, company name, etc. This ensures a more “personal” feel with less work.

When writing a rejection email, be concise. Longer emails, at first glance, can imply favorable news. Also, it is more personable for an actual employee to sign the message.  However, if there are safety concerns after sending a rejection email, do not include specific names or direct contact information.

Example of Candidate Rejection Letter

Here is an example of a sample rejection message for your use. Words between the # symbols indicate variable content found in the candidate record. CAPS indicate customized content (based on hiring manager or company).

Dear #first_name#,

Thank you for your interest in the #job_listing# at #company_name#. Your time is valuable, and we appreciate your effort in applying. (Use interviewing if an applicant has interviewed.)

We are grateful to have had many qualified applicants for the role. We carefully evaluated candidates’ qualifications and skills. Although your qualifications were impressive, we are moving forward with another candidate whose qualifications best fit the requirements of the position.

(If an interview has been conducted, consider including: Although your interview itemized your skills, we did not proceed because of REASON FOR REJECTION. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at email address or phone number.)

Please visit COMPANY JOBS PAGE to explore opportunities to join our organization as we encourage you to apply again in the future if you find a job opening better suited to your qualifications.

Again, thank you for your interest in working with us!


Personalized Candidate Communication

HR professionals can simplify a challenging task by using personalized candidate communication templates to soften news of a rejection. By delivering personalized updates to job applicants, even if it is a rejection, employers promote a positive employer brand. In return, employers will enjoy a larger applicant pool and succeed in providing clarity around what their organization’s needs. Creating personalized communication templates in ExactHire HR Software can help streamline the communication process. Click here to learn more!