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How Do You Announce a Job Posting?

Everybody likes something new and shiny. Babies, Tesla’s newest innovation, or the latest iPhone. New gets all the buzz. Job seekers, too, have a predilection for the latest and greatest. A new job posting looks more appealing than one that’s been languishing on online job boards.

For all these reasons, your job posting has more traction during its first few days of life. Search engines rank new job postings higher. Job seekers show more interest in recent job postings. You can maximize the momentum of a new job posting with a strategy that attracts quality candidates quickly.

Ways to Announce a New Job

Your strategy for attracting quality job candidates quickly begins before you announce a new job. Start by identifying your ideal applicant. Go beyond the basics. You know your machinist needs an eye for detail. Or your new server needs to be friendly. Dig deeper to understand what motivates your ideal employee. Highlighting opportunities such as overtime or advancement will attract motivated individuals while helping less enthusiastic applicants disqualify themselves.

With your ideal employee in mind, think about your application process. Keep in mind most job seekers use their mobile device to apply to positions. Assess your application process using both mobile and desktop technology. Keep applicants engaged with text and email responses that communicate the next steps in the application process.

Applicant tracking software can help you in each step of your strategy to attract quality candidates quickly. Using ATS, you can create a branded careers site optimized for both mobile and desktop applications. You can also communicate with applicants via email or text from within the ATS. When it comes time to publish new job, you can streamline the process by posting to multiple online job boards at once. Then the ATS will monitor your online job ad’s performance so you can improve applicant conversion with each new job opening.

Creative Job Postings Examples

With your profile of your ideal applicant and your applicant tracking software in place, you’re ready to write brilliant job ads. Start with a unique job title. If your company has more than one job opening for evergreen jobs, such as server, or machinist, or data entry clerk, then create a distinct title for each open position. Doing so will prevent job boards from tagging your open positions as duplicates.

Pay attention to keyword density. Use your job title throughout your description. Avoid uncommon or gendered synonyms, such waitress in place of server, or journeyman in place of machinist. Use the job title—or words closely associated—to describe actions of the job. Words such as serving, operating machinery, or entering data will all help the search engines pick up the job posting.

Avoid catchy phrases for sample job posting ads on sites such as LinkedIn or Indeed. We all know you’re not really looking for a rock star or a wizard. Endless guitar riffs make it difficult for your other employees to concentrate. And what if your wizard accidentally turns your receptionist into a houseplant? My point is that these overused words have lost their pizazz. Avoid worn and tired words, and seek fresh ways to describe your job.

If you’re looking for examples of creative job postings, check out this recruitment video from Fiverr. Or this job ad from Bud Light for a “Chief Meme Officer.” Both job ads use humor. But they’re effective because they also show applicants what their company is like. In other words, both companies authentically represent themselves in their job ads.

Internal Job Announcement

Your best quality job candidates already have a job. But don’t despair. Around 70 percent of the workforce is open to better opportunities, including your own employees. The best recruitment strategies use internal job advertisements and expansive external recruiting to target these passive job candidates.

Go beyond the job boards. Scour LinkedIn and Facebook profiles connected with companies that employ similar talent. Don’t dismiss old resumes on your favorite job boards. Job seekers often leave their resumes online after they’ve found a job. If you use applicant tracking software, you can create a talent pool of previous applicants who might be a great fit for your current opening. You can start contacting candidates from your talent pool in the first few days your job posting goes online.

Stand out when you reach out to exceptional talent. Send a message that emphasizes your company’s strengths and advancement opportunities. Be aware many people experience online scammers. So be transparent and provide information the applicant can verify.

Leverage your current employees’ connections by creating a referral program. Referred candidates perform better and stay longer than other applicants. Develop a process to determine how closely connected the applicant is to the referring employee. Close connections result in better referrals.

Internal Job Posting Announcement Sample

Current employees can be your best quality job applicants. They already fit into the company’s culture. They understand your industry and your products. Most importantly, they are fully productive more quickly that an external candidate who would need to go through the entire onboarding process. Companies with internal mobility programs understand that advancement opportunities reduce employee turnover.

You can start your internal job posting by reaching out to departments or teams that have the talent and skills you need for your open job. Supervisor and management feedback can be important. But you can avoid favoritism by creating an internal job posting announcement throughout the company.

Employees should easily find samples of internal job postings. Consider creating an internal job posting announcement on the company’s intranet homepage. Post internal job postings on bulletin boards throughout the company.

Final Thoughts on How to Announce a Job Posting

Your job ad loses effectiveness as it ages. Create a strategy to maximize your job ad’s potential before it goes live on job boards and internal job announcements. Writing a creative and effective job description to your ideal client, recruiting passive candidates, and engaging current employees in your search will help you fill your position quickly.

Applicant tracking software can help you synchronize all these steps so that your new job posting is most effective right out of the gate. Post to external job boards with one click and monitor your job ads effectiveness on one screen. Create a seamless careers site that optimizes mobile and desktop applications. Sort the resumes that come rolling in and apply custom status codes to keep it all straight. Build a talent pool you draw from for future positions and create an internal job application process all from within the ATS.

Are you ready to stop hunting rock stars and instead start engaging with your ideal candidates? Give us a call today.

 

Photo by Girl with red hat on Unsplash

 

What Are The Pros And Cons of A PEO?

The following post is provided courtesy of Human Capital Concepts (HCC), a Certified Professional Employment Organization that partners with employers to manage employee-related responsibilities and risks. HCC  provides worry-free HR, benefits, payroll, and compliance solutions all in one place, with personal attention from a dedicated team of experts.


When you dreamed about growing your business, you probably didn’t imagine that you’d need to become an expert in labor regulations, health care mandates, and safety guidelines, along with HR administration, payroll, benefits and compliance. The fact is small businesses spend 17 percent of total manpower on non-core business tasks. Most of these tasks revolve around employee management. A PEO may be able take many of these challenges off your hands.

A PEO is a “Professional Employer Organization.” A PEO will handle all of your company’s HR responsibilities and tasks. Partnering with a PEO will do more for your business than freeing resources for your core business activities. PEO clients consistently provide a better employee experience. Businesses that partner with a PEO experienced twice the revenue growth of their non-PEO competitors. PEO clients are also 50 percent less likely to permanently close.

Before you decide if a PEO is right for your company, you should consider all your options for HR support.

PEO Pros and Cons

When considering teaming up with a third party for your HR needs, you have several options. These options each have pros and cons. A PEO vs a payroll broker or HR administrator, such as an HRO or ASO, may look similar on the surface. They are, in fact, very different.

HRO stands for “Human Resources Outsourcing.” As the name suggests, an HRO allows you to outsource some or all of your HR tasks. The HRO will offer a la carte services. The downside of an HRO is that you are still responsible for decisions surrounding the minutiae of your human resources administration. You’ll still need at least one expert on staff who can make these decisions. Another disadvantage is that your company won’t enjoy lower benefits costs when you partner with an HRO.

An ASO is a cross between an HRO and PEO. ASO stands for “Administrative Services Organization.” Unlike an HRO, an ASO will administer all of your HR tasks. But unlike a PEO, an ASO does not provide workers’ compensation or liability coverage. Also, partnering with an ASO will not help your company save money on benefits coverage.

Partnering with a professional employer organization, or PEO, offers more pros than cons. The advantages of using a PEO range from tax reporting to benefits procurement. The PEO will administer all of your HR needs. A PEO will withhold employees’ taxes and employment tax liabilities. A PEO will also take care of the yearly tax reporting. Your company will benefit from partnering with a PEO to handle many of the aspects associated with having employees.

Higher health insurance costs are a downside of being a small business. Companies that partner with a PEO can leverage the PEO’s size when purchasing health insurance and other group benefits. The PEO will also carry workers’ compensation and liability insurance.

PEO Benefits

Partnering with a PEO provides many benefits for business owners, startup founders, nonprofit executives, and others. For starters, you’ll be able to focus on your core business activities. You strive to be the best in your industry, and growth is exciting. But with growth comes more employees and a larger HR burden. HR compliance, workers’ compensation laws, and employer liability issues are complex and divert resources from your company’s main focus.

A PEO will provide expert support as your HR partner. Human Resources expertise is crucial to the success of your business. Errors from your HR department can potentially cost your company thousands. Hiring the wrong HR personnel can increase your risks of fines, workers’ compensation claims, and lawsuits. In fact, a PEO with recruiting expertise can protect your organization from hiring the wrong people.

You’ll enjoy cost savings when you partner with a PEO. A study conducted by noted economists Laurie Bassi and Dan McMurrer of McBassi and Associates on behalf of the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO) found that businesses enjoy a cost savings of 27.2 percent when they partner with a PEO. According to the study, the average cost savings from using a PEO is $1,775 per year per employee, which also reinforced the findings of earlier research, again showing notably lower employee turnover, higher rates of both employee and revenue growth, and enhanced employee benefit offerings.

Partnering with a PEO will help you get lower rates for group insurance. Your PEO benefits specialist will leverage the PEO’s larger size, meaning you get better rates for your company. Small businesses that partner with a PEO save up to 40 percent on their health insurance premiums, according to the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO).

You may find the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages of using a PEO. According to the NAPEO, businesses that used a PEO grew 7-9 percent faster. They experienced lower employee turnover rates and were 50 percent less likely to go out of business.

PEO Group Insurance

When the Affordable Care Act rolled out in 2010, employers saw a 40 percent increase in insurance premiums. Over the next ten years, healthcare premiums increased another 54 percent, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. In 2020, average health coverage for a family costs $21,342.

The Affordable Care Act also gave employees insight into the high cost of healthcare. The pandemic drove this point further in employees’ minds. As a result, good benefits are more important than ever for employee retention. More than three-quarters of employees say that benefits are an important part of their overall compensation. Half of employees say they’d consider taking a new job for better benefits.

As a small to medium-sized business, your insurance costs are higher than what large corporations pay. In the past, you may have been forced to provide your employees with less-than-stellar benefits. But partnering with a PEO can lower your costs and provide better options. This is because the PEO negotiates with insurance companies for coverage for all of their clients. You get to pay rates similar to the big corporations when you have PEO group insurance.

The Affordable Care Act did more than raise premiums. Increasingly complicated regulations also increase your administrative costs for health care benefits. An in-house HR team must spend more time ensuring your company remains in compliance. Additionally, an in-house HR team often becomes a sort of middleman between the insurance provider and the employees. When issues arise, your HR staff redirects their time contacting the insurer or deciphering the policy.

PEO Payroll

Payroll administration demands hours that could be spent growing your business. The tasks start with getting withholding information from your employees. From there, you need to track hours and calculate withholdings. You must also track direct deposit information for your employees.

Like any other payroll administrator, a PEO can do all these tasks for you. But there are advantages to partnering with a PEO vs a payroll broker. Your PEO becomes your co-employer. The PEO’s EIN number will appear on all employee tax forms. This allows the PEO to handle tax withholdings and reporting. When tax time comes around, your PEO, not you, will file the litany of related employment tax forms.

But be careful about the downside of PEO tax implications. If you choose a PEO that is not certified by the IRS, otherwise known as a CPEO, you’re on the hook for unpaid taxes. Not every PEO completes the stringent qualifications to become an IRS-certified CPEO. Those that do, however, take on 100 percent of the liability for unpaid employment taxes for your company. Choosing a CPEO is the only way to be confident the money you earmark for taxes makes its way to the IRS.

Another of the pros of a PEO is that you don’t need to employ a Human Resources professional to handle HR administration, benefits and workers’ compensation issues. The average salary for a full-time human resources manager is $68,399, plus an additional 40 percent, or $27,336, for recruitment, benefits, and taxes. The Society for Human Resources Management says businesses need 2-3 HR team members per 100 employees to deliver essential HR services.

Professional Employer Organization Tax Reporting

Partnering with a PEO has important and beneficial tax implications for your company. A PEO will become your “co-employer.” Under this arrangement, the PEO is able to withhold employee federal and state taxes. The PEO then pays the government the withholdings.

A PEO will handle all of your other time-consuming payroll tasks, such as tracking employee wages and other payroll expenses. Your PEO will handle direct deposits and employee classifications. PEOs also take care of all employee documentation and compliance reporting, including new hire paperwork.

But what if your PEO fails to forward employment taxes to the IRS? Some unfortunate companies discovered a significant disadvantage of using a PEO when their provider failed to pay the IRS. Even though you’re entering into a “co-employer” agreement with the PEO, in the eyes of the IRS, you are still the primary employer liable for employment taxes.

That’s why you need an IRS Certified Professional Employer Organization when it comes to tax reporting. A CPEO is certified by the IRS. A CPEO undergoes financial audits, background reports, among other qualifications. Most importantly, once a PEO becomes certified as a CPEO, they assume liability for employment taxes. In the eyes of the IRS, the CPEO is on the hook if it fails to pay your employment taxes.

The PEO will also help handle many of the administrative tasks associated with workers’ compensation.

PEO Cost

Before you decide to purchase PEO services, you should understand how much money and time you’re spending on in-house employee administration. The Small Business Administration says the cost of an employee is up to 1.4 times his salary when you include recruitment, benefits, and taxes.

The time you and your team spend on payroll and HR-related tasks is a little tougher to pin down. A survey by the National Retail Federation found that 69 percent of small business owners feel “overwhelmed by regulations, rules and mandates such as labor regulations, health care mandates, tax codes and safety guidelines.”

The PEO will relieve you of the administrative burden of HR-related tasks. A PEO will also have the expertise to navigate the regulations, mandates, tax codes, and safety guidelines that, frankly, take too long for any layperson to unravel. Your PEO employs a team of HR experts who can navigate the complexities of the Affordable Care Act. They’ll also field questions from your employees. Your PEO will also stay on top of the ever-changing regulations.

Remember, PEO clients average a 27.2 percent return on their investment. A PEO can likely negotiate better rates for all of your employee benefits. Companies that use a PEO experience lower turnover and higher growth. But a PEO may also shield you from unexpected trouble.

The NAPEO recently compared the pandemic’s impact on PEO clients with other small businesses. Its findings suggest that PEO clients were better insulated from the catastrophic impact of the pandemic. PEO clients were twice as likely to have received Paycheck Protection Program loans. Most importantly, PEO clients were 91 percent less likely to still be temporarily closed and 60 percent less likely to have permanently closed.

Conclusion

The reality of employee management may cast a shadow on your dreams when you’re a business owner. But an HR partner can tackle the tedious, yet necessary, administrative tasks that are bogging you down. Once you have a trusted ally who can navigate the burdens of HR administration, you can go back to focusing on your core business activities.

How to Make a Tough Hiring Decision

There’s a lot riding on your hiring decisions. Studies show, when companies make good hiring decisions, employee turnover goes down and productivity and profits go up. The reverse is true when hiring decisions go wrong. Employee retention and morale go down, customer service suffers and companies struggle to maintain a competitive advantage. Whether an employee leaves voluntarily or is terminated, filling the empty chair costs thousands.

It’s easy to see why the future of an organization depends on making great hiring decisions.

But so much of the hiring process seems subjective. Assessing education and work experience is the easy part. Hiring managers face difficult decisions when assessing for personality, culture fit, and soft skills. Abstract qualities such as these are difficult to quantify. Hiring teams that rely on intuition to assess these abstract qualities may find themselves making decisions based on personal biases.

When considering how to make a tough hiring decision, develop a data-driven hiring process that artfully mixes objectivity with sound intuitive judgement to choose the best candidate.

Making Great Hiring Decisions

The pressure is on to make great hiring decisions. Creating strong teams and reducing employee turnover are effective ways to reduce costs and increase profits. Great hiring decisions rely on three important factors.

  • The first of these factors is the quality of the data you gather. When applications and resumes come in, you should have an effective way to analyze and sort the information they contain. Recruiters often find the internet brings mixed blessings in their search for top candidates. The internet is an effective way to increase the radius of your search. But oftentimes, recruiters are faced with too many unqualified applicants. Stellar candidates can easily get lost in the mix. Use applicant tracking software to help you organize and sort the responses that your job ad garners.
  • The second important factor for great hiring decisions is an objective set of criteria against which to measure all the candidates. For this, you’ll need an updated job description. Resist the urge to just go with what you had when you were hiring the position three years ago. Supervisors and team member can help you make sure the job description accurately represents the role. From there, develop a list of necessary qualifications. Don’t let your anxiety over hiring the wrong candidate get the better of you. Don’t require a college degree for entry level positions unless it’s absolutely necessary. Personality traits like motivation and loyalty may be more important than oodles of work experience.
  • Your emotions will likely influence your final hiring decision. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. That’s why sound intuitive judgement is our third factor for great hiring decisions. At some point, you’re going to have to “trust your gut.” But you’ll find your gut is trustworthy when you learn how to make emotionally intelligent decisions.

 

Distribute Hiring Authority

You can make the best data-driven, objective, and intuitively sound decisions when you rely on a hiring team. Avoid “group think” by including a diverse group of people from throughout the company. A variety of personalities with various roles and stakes in the organization can provide the well-rounded perspective you need to make great hiring decisions.

You’ll want to include the new hire’s supervisor and perhaps even a team member. These individuals are in the best position to assess the unique qualities required for this role. They’re also in the best position to assess how a candidate’s personality will mesh with existing team members. But be careful not to enable a toxic work environment if there’s conflict among members of the current team. In that case, look for a new hire with the positive attributes that will make the team stronger and address existing conflict separately.

The most successful companies are the ones with a strong, unifying vision. For this reason, you need someone on your hiring team with deep knowledge about the company’s culture, its goals, and values. This person can help you make sure the new hire’s values align with the company’s mission.

Finally, you’ll need someone unassociated with the department in which the new hire will be working. Departmental heads can sometimes be blind to the weaknesses within their own teams. An outsider can appreciate the strengths an introvert may bring to a team of extroverted members.

Consider Amazon’s Bar Raiser Program. Amazon proactively identifies star performers within their organization and then trains them to be skilled interviewers with a focus on hiring candidate’s who demonstrate 14 Leadership Principles. The program helps ensure objectivity during the hiring process and influences behavior centered around the company’s values.

Choosing Between Two Quality Candidates

If you find that you’re repeatedly forced to choose between two equally qualified candidates, it may be time to reexamine your hiring process. Ask the following questions to better describe how your hiring manager should decide to hire the best applicant.

  • Are you collecting enough data about candidates during the application process?
  • Are you quantifying the soft skills and personality traits required for the job?
  • Have you created an assessment against which to rate candidates?

No matter how well thought out your hiring process, from time to time you will be lucky enough to find yourself with two stellar applicants. The hiring process is no time to draw straws. So how do you choose between the two?

If you haven’t called all of their references, pick up the phone. You may get information that will sway your decision. Consider administering assessments to test for the personality traits that will make your new hire successful. If there is still no clear winner, don’t jump to consulting your gut instinct just yet. Develop some tie-breaker interview questions first.

Interview Questions for Every Stage

 

Tie-Breaker Interview Questions

Tie-breaker interview questions uncover hidden, but important, personality traits. The right list of questions can help you develop a personality profile for the candidate that gets underneath the mask they put on when they wear their best interview suit. You can gauge an applicant’s maturity level and emotional intelligence. You can find out what motivates them, whether they possess self-confidence, and whether they’re committed to personal growth. Tie-breaker questions are unexpected and, being unrehearsed, will give you the greatest insight into your applicant.

Examples of open-ended tie-breaker questions include:

  • Why are you interested in working for our company?
  • What are your short and long-term goals? Where do you want to be in two and in ten years?
  • What do you like best about your current job? Why do you want to leave it?

If there still isn’t a clear, logical choice, don’t be dismissive of your intuitive powers. Your marketing team will be quick to tell you most of our decisions are emotional. No matter how rational you fancy yourself to be, many of your choices are rooted in your emotions.

And using your intuition to make decisions isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Studies show your mind processes far more information than you can juggle in your logical, working memory. The conclusions your super-processing brain make come through as emotions. A decision feels right or it feels bad.

Make sure hiring decisions are rooted in healthy emotions. If the new hire’s department is known to be toxic, you may hire someone you think is tough enough to handle the negativity. In reality, you’re probably hiring a person who will contribute to the negative atmosphere. The better, and more difficult, solution, is to hire people with desirable traits while separately dealing with undesirable behaviors that have already taken root.

Final Decision on Hiring

You can avoid needing to make a tough, last-minute hiring decision if you develop effective strategies to determine how the final hiring decision is made.

Start with applicant tracking software that can scan resumes and pull the most qualified candidates for you to review first. Count on a diverse hiring team to provide different, yet valuable, perspectives. Recruit a specially trained person to assist with recruitment decision making who prioritizes the company’s culture and is also unaffiliated with the position’s department.

Incorporating tie-breaker questions throughout your entire application process can help you uncover each applicant’s true personality. When you’re still faced with a tough hiring choice, an intuitive judgement call from an emotionally healthy place can be your best tool for making a final employment decision.

Assign one person who will make the final hiring decision in the selection process if you find your team can’t agree on the best candidate. Remember one of Amazon’s Leadership Principles: a bias for action. As important as the hiring decision and selection process are, there are other equally important factors that can lower employee turnover and develop your team’s potential. Effective onboarding and training programs are useful tools that can help an average new hire become great.

Are you interested in developing better interview questions? Download our guide that shares best questions and advice from over 70 hiring experts.

 

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

 

 

How to Manage Teams in Different Locations

I love the way grandmothers pack priceless wisdom into colorful phrases. Phrases like “when the cat is away, the mice will play” speak volumes about the human tendency to slack off when the boss isn’t around. Or how about this one: “out of sight, out of mind.” When something isn’t in front of me, it gets pushed to the back of my mind.

Maybe you think of these phrases when wondering how to manage teams in different locations. Conventional wisdom says managing dispersed teams is a headache. You can’t possibly make sure your staff isn’t goofing off. You wonder how to handle managerial tasks for a team possibly hundreds of miles away.

Nothing against Grandma, but her notions of remote management are a bit old-fashioned. With the right strategies and software in place, you’ll take to managing dispersed teams like a fish takes to water.

Considerations for Hiring Dispersed Teams

Grandma would say you can’t separate the wheat from the chaff when hiring a dispersed team. When you post job openings for multiple locations, you run the risk of missing high-quality applicants if your process is unorganized. Hiring employees at multiple locations requires strategic planning and implementation.

Perhaps one of the biggest considerations for hiring dispersed teams is maintaining your company’s branding. Multiple locations will probably develop their own unique culture. Your branding becomes the glue that binds employees in different locations to your company’s vision. Without strong branding, different locations may begin to feel like independent outposts for employees as well as customers.

You can introduce applicants to your company’s values, vision, and character with a branded careers site. A single careers website can manage applications for job postings at all of your company’s locations, even allowing job seekers to apply to multiple jobs with one application. Not only will you elevate your brand in your applicants’ eyes, you’ll be able to uncover more qualified candidates and manage applicant data from a cloud-based software system accessible at all of your locations.

From within the applicant tracking system, you’ll be able to sort applicants using a variety of data fields, including location. You can then assign tasks to individuals on hiring teams throughout the organization. You’ll be able to view applicants’ progress throughout the hiring process.

Perhaps most importantly, an ATS will give your hiring teams the tools they need to work independently without sacrificing your ability to oversee the process. An ATS can eliminate many of the intra-company emails and phone calls that hinder hiring across locations. With all the benefits of an ATS, I think Grandma might finally agree you can have your cake and eat it too.

 

Multi-Site Management of Employee Onboarding

Grandma might warn you against biting off more than you can chew when it comes to multi-site management of employee onboarding. It’s true that onboarding new hires at multiple sites can be problematic. Ineffective onboarding will cut into your bottom line, decrease your company’s productivity, and possibly leave you vulnerable to lawsuits.

Employees who undergo a comprehensive onboarding program are productive in their new roles more quickly. Effective onboarding can also improve employee retention. Onboarding software can help you create a consistent and effective onboarding process for all of your locations. You can use these digital onboarding tools when introducing your new hires to your company. Training modules within onboarding software can be customized for each position and its location.

New employee forms get trickier during cross-office collaboration. The best onboarding software will determine the correct new employee forms for each position and location. You won’t need to worry about your hiring teams forgetting about non-compete agreements for new sales people. And you can be sure the correct city payroll tax withholdings are on file. Best of all, onboarding software stores your completed new employee forms digitally. If your new sales person leaves for a competitor a few years down the road, you won’t need to chase down a paper copy of that non-compete agreement.

Even Grandma has to admit, onboarding software leaves no stone unturned.

 

Managing Employees at Multiple Locations

Grandma wouldn’t want you burning the candle at both ends when managing employees at multiple locations. Each location may develop a culture inconsistent with your company’s values. Productivity may suffer when employees aren’t engaged in the company’s larger mission. Poor communication can enhance existing problems.

You can address the challenges of managing employees in different locations by proactively managing your workplace culture. Create a comprehensive onboarding process with an emphasis on your company’s values and mission. Existing employees may benefit from training that focuses on your company’s culture. Try implementing a rewards program for employees who demonstrate behavior consistent with your values.

Nurturing a positive culture and workplace environment will help engage employees. You can also increase employee engagement by offering skill development training. Dispersed employees could access advanced training modules within your onboarding software or classes online. Think about pairing employees at remote locations with mentors working from the company headquarters. These mentors can help employees navigate the company’s dynamics.

Stakeholders need strong communication skills to make these strategies for managing teams at multiple locations successful. Managers with poor communication skills struggle with how to increase collaboration between teams and improve cross-departmental communication. Remind these managers to have regular video conferences with remote team members. Email is great for task-related communication. But only a phone or video call can nurture meaningful connections between co-workers.

You can overcome the challenges of managing and leading remote teams through culture, engagement, and communication. When you use these strategies, your employees will feel more emotionally invested in their roles and happy as clams.

Final Thoughts

Conventional wisdom may say that managing teams in different locations is difficult. Dispersed worksites tend to develop their own culture. Distance can complicate items such as paperwork. And poor communication will make managing remote employees even tougher.

But you’ll be changing your tune when you invest in the right software. And your remote teams will be over the moon when you use strategies to promote culture, engagement, and communication. Before you know it, managing teams in different locations will be a piece of cake.

Are you thinking about investing in applicant tracking software or onboarding software? Contact us today.

Photo by Antonio Janeski on Unsplash

 

Why Diversity Hiring Is Important

The world has its eyes on systemic racism. And now, more than ever, everyone seems committed to dismantling discrimination. But with the heightened attention comes the awareness of the complexity surrounding inequality. Diversity is complicated, and that’s why most companies fail to meet their Diversity, Equity & Inclusion goals.

Businesses tend to see diversity as a numbers issue. They see that a minority group comprises a certain percentage of the local population and then focus their efforts on having a similar percentage in their workforce. But emphasizing statistics ignores the uncomfortable factors that lead to poor diversity.

Leaders can address these issues within their workplace when they emphasize the benefits of diversity without downplaying its difficulties. Situational factors, privilege, and implicit bias drive inequality. These factors make conversations around diversity difficult. But companies that address the circumstances that lead to inequality ultimately reinforce the shared experience of living in our society. Ultimately, everyone in the organization will feel more valued.

Defining Diversity and Its Importance in the Workplace

Most business owners think of diversity in the workplace in terms of the compliance regulations imposed by the federal government. These regulations ensure equal employment opportunities for marginalized groups. Business owners agree diversity hiring in the workplace is important. But they tend to view their diversity hiring efforts under the narrow lens of the EEOC. They acknowledge hiring for diversity is important in the world and contributes to the greater good. Yet they also see diversity in the workplace as having very little impact on the company’s success.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Diversity in the workplace is good for the bottom line. In 2015, McKinsey and Company found that companies with a diverse workforce performed 15 to 35 percent better than the national industry median. This success underscores the importance of diversity in the workplace.

McKinsey followed up with a 2018 report that echoed the finding of the first: diversity is good for the bottom line. Companies with gender diversity at the executive level were 21 percent more profitable than their less diverse competitors. Companies with culturally diverse executive teams outperformed their competitors by 33 percent.

In both the 2015 and 2018 reports, McKinsey delivered bad news to companies with poor diversity. Companies that fail to cultivate gender and culturally diverse teams perform up to 29 percent worse than their competitors. Companies that fail to recruit minorities need to figure out how to increase diversity in the workplace.

Leverage Diversity in the Workplace

There are no disadvantages of diversity in the workplace. When companies go beyond simple compliance and truly leverage diversity on their teams, they can outperform their competitors. Businesses can better withstand unexpected challenges, such as a pandemic, when they leverage the benefits of diversity in the workplace.

Businesses can avoid “group think” when they prioritize diversity in the workplace. Companies with a diverse workforce will benefit from the different perspectives and experiences their employees bring to the table. Leveraging diversity on teams will lead to more creative solutions and innovations.

High-quality talent demands diversity as well. According to a survey by Glassdoor, 76 percent of respondents said diversity is important when considering job offers. Professionals under 35, especially, expect their employers to emphasize diversity, equity, and inclusion. Companies that prioritize diversity in their hiring efforts can attract and retain this top talent.

You’re more likely to understand your customers’ needs when you leverage diversity in the workplace. The U.S. is rapidly moving toward a diverse population. Will your workforce be diverse enough to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse consumer base?

Realizing the benefits of diversity in the workplace requires more than hiring for diversity. To really tap into the potential throughout your workforce, you need to leverage diversity. Leveraging elevates diversity from a numbers game for compliance to a comprehensive strategy for diversity hiring and development.

Download ExactHire Company Culture E-book

An Effective Hiring Process Includes Diversity

The first step to employing a diverse workforce is an effective hiring process that includes diversity as one of its primary goals. Impress upon your team the importance of an effective hiring process that emphasizes diversity. Companies that understand the importance of hiring and retaining the right employees are more successful.

One or two (or more) stakeholders may (silently) think the company should hire the best qualified individual rather than hire for diversity. Explain to your hiring team that the company will always seek out the most qualified person for the job. But unconscious biases often exclude highly qualified people from marginalized groups. Dismantling these unconscious biases is the first step to a hiring process that promotes diversity.

An article in the Harvard Business Review details a study conducted to uncover biases while rating resumes. They found that a female or minority candidate needed a 4.0 GPA to get the same rating as a white male with a 3.75 GPA. A white male with an impressive internship received a 50 percent higher rating than a female or minority with the same internship.

Understandably, your hiring team may feel uncomfortable with the idea that they, too, have implicit bias. However, leveraging diversity goes deeper than simply hiring for diversity. To have a truly inclusive workplace, your hiring team should understand and dismantle their own implicit biases.

Technology may help you avoid implicit bias in your candidate selection. Applicant tracking software can scan and sort resumes for qualifications. The resulting list will be free of human bias. ATS can also track your applicants to help you identify problem areas in your recruiting efforts.

Hiring Diverse Candidates for Your Organization

Hiring diverse talent requires intention and strategy. Even the most committed companies may fall short in their diversity goals when they fail to proactively recruit a diverse workforce.

Start by examining your requirements for the job, such as GPA. Applicants who come from low-income backgrounds likely had to work while attending college. Their GPA may have suffered under long work hours. Failing to account for situational differences among applicants can lead to poorer hiring decisions.

These situational differences extend to attaining a degree. Since the Great Recession, employers inflated the importance of degrees for entry and mid-level jobs. Yet, in 2016, just 30.8 percent of Black adults had attained a college degree, compared with 47.1 percent of white adults. Furthermore, degree holders in these jobs do not always perform better than high school graduates.

Reexamine the necessary skills for entry and mid-level jobs within your organization. Place a higher value on work experience. If you still find that candidates need specialized skills, consider recruiting from trade schools or implementing an in-house training program.

Consider your interviewing process from the lens of marginalized groups. Are you flexible with your scheduling? Do not doubt a candidate’s commitment just because she isn’t available for an interview until next week. Up to 58 percent of the nation’s low-income families belong to non-white racial groups. Candidates may be working multiple jobs or jobs with unconventional schedules.

You may be sabotaging your diversity hiring efforts if the application process and virtual interviews require too much technology. Black and Hispanic candidates have less access to the Internet and laptops. On the other hand, these candidates are more likely to primarily use cell phones for their job search and applications. A hiring process that embraces mobile technology can boost your efforts at creating a diverse workforce.

 

Workplace Diversity Goals in Hiring

You can create diversity hiring goals to gauge your success and examine areas for improvement. Good diversity goals focus on the corporate culture, the corporate branding, and corporate recruiting. Your company is more likely to meet its diversity goals if you effectively communicate them.

Your compliance reporting likely already contains information about how your hiring metrics compare with the general population for your area. You’ll have access to even more data if you use an applicant tracking system. Finally, examining your current workforce and diversity at all levels, including executive levels, can create a clearer picture.

Now that you’ve compiled your data, you can look for areas of improvement.

  • Does your workforce include as least as many diverse employees as the community’s population?
  • Are candidates from marginalized groups applying for jobs within your organization?
  • Is one group disproportionately offered interviews compared to minority groups?
  • Is your hiring team composed of a diverse group of people?
  • Is there pay disparity in your company between marginalized groups and their peers?
  • Does the demographic of your managerial and executive positions match the demographic of your entry level positions?

When you understand where your company is lacking, you can create actionable steps towards a more diverse workforce. These steps are more achievable if you communicate them correctly to your staff. Companies are more likely to achieve their diversity goals when leaders tell their teams that diversity is important and requires a focused effort. This creates a positive message around diversity and also creates buy-in from their staff.

Diversity Recruiting Strategy

Many companies find that minorities and marginalized individuals aren’t applying for open positions. A diversity recruiting strategy that proactively seeks these candidates can help. In addition to removing unnecessary the educational and technology requirements mentioned above, recruiters can implement strategies that encourage minority applicants.

Create a culture that values diversity and inclusion in recruitment and beyond. Incorporate your diversity initiatives into your company mission and value statements. Provide company-wide diversity training, with an emphasis on those in management and hiring teams. Include minorities in your company’s marketing campaigns. Emphasizing diversity within your organization and your branding will create a welcoming atmosphere for minorities.

Connect with community organizations. Look for associations that attract minority members. As you speak with professionals in your community, learn about the employment issues these groups are facing. Build a network that includes professionals in underrepresented groups. Lean on your network for employment referrals.

Expand your recruitment efforts to schools with a significant minority population. Minorities are underrepresented in the nation’s top schools. Companies face diversity recruiting challenges when they focus on a few universities. Instead, redirect some of your recruiting efforts to schools with ethnically diverse students.

Invest in an applicant tracking system. An ATS comes with several features to help you reach your diversity goals. You can more easily comply with diversity hiring laws with built-in compliance reporting. The ATS will also help you build a talent pool you can use for future openings. And the resume sorting capabilities of an ATS can help you ensure diversity in your recruiting and hiring practices. The right applicant tracking system will come with a fully mobile careers site that allows applicants to use their smart phones.

Final Thoughts

Diversity is hard, but well worth the effort. Federal compliance and the financial benefits of diversity will always be important. But the biggest reason to hire for diversity is because it’s the right thing to do.

The tragic stories in the news over the past year brings racism and bias to the forefront of our collective consciousness. At the same time, the pandemic has undone the gains women have made in the workforce. Now is the time for your company to recommit itself to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

If you’re interested in learning how applicant tracking and onboarding software can help you achieve your diversity goals, you can register for a personalized demo with a one of our solutions team members.

 

 

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

How to Write a Job Description

Indeed.com, just one of many jobs sites, is home to more than 16 million job postings. How can yours stand out? How can you avoid underqualified applicants? Most importantly, how can you persuade the best candidates to apply to your company?

The answers to all of these questions begin with your job description. That small post of just a few hundred words has to do some heavy lifting. Your job description must be optimized for search algorithms. It must be clear and honest to help candidates self-qualify. Your job ad has to subtly communicate the awesomeness of your company to a small pool of coveted, well-qualified candidates.

Your job description must accomplish all these goals for one purpose: to convert only the best job seekers into a manageable pool of applicants. How can you write a job description packed with that much power?

Job Description Writing Guide

When thinking about how to write a job description, there are two things to keep in mind. First, you’re writing for the search engines. Second, you’re writing for the job candidates. Each of these “audiences” requires a different approach.

Search engine writing elevates your ad near the top of search results where applicants can find it. Writing your job description with keywords will guide algorithms to your ad. Keywords should appear in your job title and the description, especially the first paragraph. The meta title and meta description should also include keywords.

Keywords will get your ad in front of the applicant. But only clear and compelling writing will persuade readers to complete the application. When asking yourself how do you write a good job description, start by identifying your ideal candidate. Then create a job ad that appeals to that person.

Sometimes, a boss will ask employees to write their own job descriptions. Ideally, several stakeholders should be involved in crafting job ads. HR professionals should seek input from the supervisor overseeing the new hire and also the position’s co-workers. A marketing professional or content writer can craft a job description that is both SEO optimized and compelling for applicants.

 

Mobile Recruiting Guide

Best practices for Writing Job Descriptions

The best practices for writing job descriptions seamlessly weave SEO writing with persuasive writing. If you’re learning how to write your own job description, start by crafting a job description that clearly identifies the role. This description becomes the blueprint to which you add keywords. Finally, you’ll rework your description to persuade job seekers to apply.

What do you write in a job description? Things like the job title, pay range and shift should appear at the top. Next, include a brief summary of your company. Follow this by a summary of how the job fits into the goals of the company. You’ll want to include the most important or time-consuming duties and responsibilities for the position. Identify the minimum qualifications. Finally, identify unique requirements for the job, such as heavy lifting or repetitive hand motions.

Identify what words job seekers are using to find your position. These become your keywords. Use both general and specific terms. The first paragraph of your job description should contain all of your keywords.

Perhaps you’re writing a job ad for what your company calls a project manager. But many industries employ project managers. Someone searching for a position as an IT project manager would not be a good fit for a litigation support project manager. If your job description is for an industry-specific position, then include that information as a keyword.

Include keywords that specify required skillsets. “Java-Script Computer Programmer” or “B2B Content Creator” act as longtail keywords. They are more likely to appear at the top of results for applicants searching these terms. Being specific with your job titles will also help applicants self-qualify.

A Good Job Description Template with Job Responsibilities

When wondering how do you write an effective job description, consider your ideal candidate. What does this person want? For example, perhaps you want someone who works well with a team. This person wants to feel like a valued team member. Perhaps you want someone who can work independently. This person wants to feel trusted and empowered.

Notice that you’re writing to appeal to your ideal candidate’s emotions. In this way, writing your job description is much like writing content for customers. You want your candidates to feel good about applying to your company in the same way you make customers feel good about purchasing.

The best practice for writing the duties and responsibilities section of a job description will tap into a candidate’s desire to support a larger cause. Any job duties list can be written to tap into the applicant’s desire to contribute to something bigger than themselves. If you already track employees’ roles and responsibilities in an Excel or Word template, you can rewrite them from this purpose-centered perspective.

A job seeker’s decision to apply to your company is largely an emotional decision. In this way, applicant conversion is similar to customer conversion. However, you’re only hiring a few select applicants. Effective job descriptions will increase the number of preferable applicants while discouraging undesirable or unqualified applicants.

You can do this by highlighting the emotional benefits that the company values. For example, perhaps your open sales position requires travel. Enticing someone who “wants to see the world” may not attract the type of candidates you want. But you’ll appeal to more desirable applicants if you highlight the opportunity to “work with some of the most innovative and culturally diverse software clients in the world.”

Good Job Description Examples

Rework the key components of a job description to highlight the benefits applicants may enjoy.  The best job descriptions for 2021 will highlight benefits in relation to a purpose-orientated mindset.

Good job description examples of the duties and responsibilities for a receptionist may include answering the phone. A compelling description may be, “Be the friendly first point-of-contact for Esperion Therapeutics. Ensure a great customer experience by correctly determining callers’ needs and identifying the person or department best suited to meet those needs.”

Perhaps you’re wondering how to develop a job description for a service technician who will travel to repair equipment for clients. A persuasive job description may read, “Use your mechanical know-how to ensure a consistent customer experience. Keep client productions running smoothly when you travel to client locations nation-wide to diagnose and repair equipment or perform maintenance.”

What Job Descriptions Should Not Include

Now you know your job ad needs keywords and compelling writing. But what should not be included in a job description?

Overwrought Job Titles. Don’t include words like rock star, ninja, connoisseur, or anything similar in your job titles. Rather than creative, these words seem dated and desperate. Candidates aren’t using these terms to search anyway.

Unrealistic Qualifications. Ask yourself if you really need a branch manager with a Master’s degree. Or a receptionist who speaks Spanish. Or an assistant who can write Excel macros. Some qualifications aren’t as important as you may think.

Too Much Positivity. You also want to realistically assess the job. Is there something about the position that may be a deal breaker for some people? If the job requires overtime or working weekends or excessive travel, then clearly say so in the description.

Jargon and Abbreviations. Your words should be clear to a general audience and spelled out completely for search engines. Don’t use terms that only people in your industry or company would understand. Don’t use abbreviations.

Complete List of a Role’s Tasks. Your job description should not be an exhaustive list of the position’s duties. For legal purposes and to avoid wrongful termination suits, include phrasing that allows supervisors to expand responsibilities for the role.

Final Thoughts

Recruiters need to do more to attract top talent. With more than half of job seekers going to online job boards, the work of getting noticed by quality applicants begins with your job description. This small block of text must appeal to algorithms as well your ideal candidates.

But what happens when your amazing job description spurs a candidate to apply? The best job descriptions will fizzle if they end with email instructions. You can keep the momentum going when your job ad directs clients to a branded careers site where they can learn more about your company. You can sort and manage the data from the influx of awesome candidates when your branded careers site feeds into an applicant tracking system.

Do you want to know more about how to connect with job seekers online? Download our free guide, Connecting with Job Seekers in the Digital Age.

 

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

6 Considerations for Sharing Bad News

What do you want first: the good news or the bad news? We’ve all faced this question before, and depending on who it came from, we’ve answered with an anxious smile or an indifferent shrug. Our reaction was based on an immediate calculation–just how bad could the news be?

From the perspective of the person delivering the news, the offer of “good news or bad news first” is a way of softening the bad news. It’s a small expression of empathy for those receiving the news. Unfortunately, it’s also a tired cliche that, when used to share bad news, can undercut a leader’s professionalism and integrity–especially when there’s little, if any, good news to be shared.

But while the “good news/bad news” line is best kept on the shelf, organizational leaders should still have a plan for sharing bad news effectively. Here are six considerations for doing just that:

Prepare to Share

Bad news has the tendency to arouse bad feelings. Anger, jealousy, and disappointment are all feelings that can cause individuals to react negatively to bad news–and to those delivering it. Leaders can better manage these reactions by preparing to share bad news, which includes:

  • Having a complete and solid grasp of the facts surrounding the bad news
  • Understanding the scope of the bad news and possible implications for the future
  • Anticipating questions that will be asked, and having the answers to those questions
  • Scripting key thoughts and responses

Take a Step Back

Sharing bad news is never easy. This is true whether it impacts one, several, or hundreds of employees. So while preparing to deliver bad news should be taken seriously, leaders must also keep the news in perspective. Consider the following to help relieve the stress of sharing bad news:

  • It’s unlikely that you are the first person to share this type of news
  • The news must be shared, and it’s your responsibility to share it
  • Sharing the news, rather than hiding it, will produce better outcomes

Stay Detached

With good preparation and the proper perspective, most leaders will be in a position to mitigate conflict that may arise from sharing bad news. Of course, as the great philosopher, Mike Tyson, once said, “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Or, to put it in less violent terms: having a plan is always necessary, but not always sufficient.

Once a leader begins to actually share the bad news, any number of things can happen that could derail even the best plan. Leaders need to understand that this is possible. Then, they must be able to detach from an emotionally-charged conversation, and remain calm in the face of conflict.

This leads us to our next consideration, stick to the relevant facts.

Stick to the Relevant Facts

When a conversation becomes charged with emotions, it can very quickly move into an open argument. The best way for leaders to avoid an ugly argument is to maintain a focus and emphasis on the facts, specifically the facts that are relevant to issue at hand.

Once a leader strays away from the facts and begins making emotional appeals, or addressing unrelated issues, all advantage gained from planning is lost. This also largely precludes a leader from gaining closure on the original bad news. In short, a leader who is led into an emotional argument…isn’t really leading.

Provide Vision

It’s not enough for leaders to simply share the facts when conveying bad news. After all, effective leaders should inspire positive action and loyalty in their employees. This can be achieved by providing employees with a vision for the future that moves past the bad news of the present.

Importantly, a leader’s vision shouldn’t ignore realities or downplay potential risks, and it should be flexible enough to provide employees with options. It requires taking an honest look at how the bad news will impact the future of the organization and its employees. Bad news can rattle employees, but a strong vision for the future can provide them with tools to overcome challenges and flourish.

Close with Strength

Finally, a strong closing to the conversation will instill confidence in employees and further support the leader’s vision. It’s common to open the floor to questions at this point if they have not already been asked. As mentioned above–and perhaps more important here–leaders should answer only relevant questions, and the answers should be fact-based. 

The closing should be brief. Leaders must not hesitate to name some questions as being outside the scope of a conversation or decline to answer other questions. Ultimately, if the bad news has been communicated effectively up to this point, there should be very few relevant questions.

Good News or Bad News?

At some point, all organizations will have to share bad news. And although conflict can be almost certain, an organization’s culture and leadership will go a long way in determining whether the news will cause damaging conflict. Organizational leaders who have a plan for sharing bad news can mitigate conflict, calm emotions, and provide a path forward. In this way, bad news can inspire employees to raise their performance to new levels. And that is good news.

 

Transparency in Leadership

Increasingly, people in all areas of society are seeking transparency in leadership. We want to know the “why,” “how,” and “who” of decision-making, especially when those decisions affect us. Furthermore, we want to trust that decision makers are taking our interests into account when arriving at decisions.

The desire for transparency is so strong that many leaders may feel pressure to vet, check, and double-check every decision with every stakeholder. Of course, this is impractical, if not impossible.

We know that there are some decisions that can be made with little input, and others that require extensive discussions and long consideration. However, as is often the case, it’s the area in between those extremes that can create problems. This is where leaders must practice transparency in order to maintain the trust of stakeholders.

Leadership Transparency in the Workplace

Suppose the executive leadership of an organization decides that it is necessary to reduce work hours for its employees. The leadership group has not spoken about this to managers outside of the group, and they anticipate that this change will be a surprise to everyone. Still, the leaders believe that it’s better to implement this decision sooner rather than later.

A Top-down Decision

No matter how the news is communicated, the decision will not be popular with employees. So rather than beat around the bush, one lucky member of the leadership group is asked to simply communicate the decision. This spokesperson for the leadership group anticipates the following questions:

  • Why are we reducing hours?
  • How was this decision made?
  • Who was involved in the decision?

So the leader provides the answers to these questions in her announcement, and she is hopeful that the employees will be understanding and take the bad news in stride. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

Blindsided

Managers outside of the decision making process immediately began receiving questions and complaints regarding the reduction in hours. They had no good answers for the employees. This greatly damaged trust and respect between the managers and their reports.

The managers resented leadership for making such a quick decision without their input. They felt blindsided and unfairly set up to fail in managing their teams. Just like the other employees, they lost trust and respect for the executive leadership team.

Very soon, news reaches the leadership group that employee morale is tanking. What happened?

Part-time Transparency

Although the leader built understanding around the context of the decision in her announcement, the managers and other employees felt almost tricked by the sudden reduction in hours. The leadership failed to communicate any information beforehand that would have led the employees to anticipate this change. For many employees, the news was bad, but the sudden announcement and surprise were worse.

Transparency in leadership cannot be part-time, and it cannot only accompany official announcements or appear on the backend of an important decision. It must be proactive, constant, and sincere. It must be part of an organization’s culture.

A Culture of Transparency

A strong, positive organizational culture will not often materialize without the presence of effective leadership. Leaders create a compelling mission and vision, and then determine the organizational values that will advance both. Taken together, these are the foundational elements of organizational culture.

An organization can profess to hold numerous values, but successful ones will whittle these down to 4 or 6 values. The result is a set of core values that inform workplace behaviors. An organization that wants to embrace transparency in leadership, then, must ensure that its core values encourage this behavior.

The behavior of transparency in leadership can be described in many ways, but a helpful description would be: the timely, frequent sharing of information and the invitation to provide feedback or enter discussion in regard to this information.

Timely and Frequent Sharing

As previously mentioned, transparency in leadership is not seeking and considering input on every decision, and it is not sharing every piece of information on every decision. The right frequency of sharing information, then, is a frequency which ensures that employees are kept aware of:

  • the status of ongoing issues, and
  • the possibility of emerging issues.

This can be thought of as simply “keeping people in the loop.”

Timely sharing of information is seeking to achieve the above, while also considering whether there is a need to know the information at a particular time. For example, interrupting work on a time-sensitive project to hold a meeting where the topic is a new snack program….that is not timely sharing.

Feedback and Discussion

Of course, simply sharing information is not enough to create transparency in leadership. A one-way street of top-down sharing  would cause most employees to feel as if they were only receiving a long list of dictates and decrees. An organization that values transparency must go further and give every employee the ability to influence decisions by seeking their feedback.

Feedback can be collected through surveys, but individual or small-group discussions are often the most effective vehicle. This provides an opportunity for all parties to gain clarity in understanding. Additionally, discussions often uncover new perspectives that the decision makers may not have considered previously. 

While seeking feedback is important, leaders must also convey sincerity in seeking feedback. Employees must feel that their thoughts and perspectives will be taken into consideration by decision makers, and they must see evidence of this when decisions are announced. Few things hurt employee morale more than the constant request for feedback that is never considered. 

Transparency Mitigates Conflict

The leadership group in our workplace scenario created conflict when making the announcement to reduce hours. Specifically, the conflict was between the employees anticipating a certain amount of hours and the leadership’s decision to reduce hours. From the organization’s perspective, the conflict was unavoidable; however, an organization that values transparency understands that while a conflict may be necessary, it doesn’t have to be damaging.

A damaging conflict is most likely to occur when there is unequal access to information that, when revealed, moves one party to resent the other. Transparency in leadership, then, prevents damaging conflicts by ensuring that all employees have access to important information at the right time.

 

Reignite Your Leadership Skills

The world is full of leaders. Some are easy to identify; they may hold political office, run successful businesses, minister at churches, command troops, or quarterback their teams to victory. Surprisingly, however, these highly visible leaders are but a tiny fraction of the women and men who lead. The vast majority of leaders are leading without title or wide-spread popularity.

In fact, title and popularity are not reliable indicators of effective leadership. This is because leadership is a skill and, like any skill, improves over time with practice–or withers without it. Everyone, regardless of title, has the ability to grow as a leader if they choose to practice the skill consistently over time. But sometimes we lose the choice to practice.

Losing the Leadership Path

It can be difficult to practice leadership consistently when dealing with unexpected life events. This is especially true for individuals who mainly exercise leadership through their profession. Changing jobs, unemployment, starting families, illness, or the death of a loved one can all suddenly and swiftly interrupt the practice of leadership.

A few days or weeks of not practicing leadership is harmless; however, when weeks become months, the effects become more apparent. Confidence levels decrease, decisiveness weakens, and work knowledge may slip. This can all lead to confusion and negative outcomes. For those already in a leadership role, this could even mean losing their position. 

Reignite Your Leadership Skills

The negative effects of failing to practice leadership are not character defects. Confidence, decisiveness, knowledge, and clarity will all increase upon returning to practice. The problem for many, though, is that they don’t know how to begin practicing leadership again. This is especially true for someone who has lost a leadership position or taken an extended leave of absence.

Getting back on the leadership path is not always easy, and it’s not something achieved overnight. It requires disciplined action and an open mind. The goal should be to get back into the practice of setting and achieving goals, teaching and learning from peers, and experiencing success. And rather than making a snap decision to jump back into a leadership role, it’s helpful to first consider what opportunities currently exist. 

Finding The Right Leadership Opportunity

To begin practicing leadership after a long hiatus, the first step is to find the right leadership opportunity. Since this might be outside a chosen profession, the opportunity could be *gasp* uncompensated. However, by taking the perspective that the end (improved leadership skills) is worth the means (uncompensated work), motivation and progress can be maintained.

Often times there are leadership opportunities at our churches, our child’s school or sports leagues, or at our favorite non-profits. When an open leadership role exists where we already spend time, taking on the role becomes easier, and the expectations are clearer. Here are a few areas where leaders can grow their skills outside their primary profession.

Volunteer Leadership

Volunteering often involves manual, monotonous tasks. In fact, many institutions need volunteers to free up the time of full-time professionals so that they can focus on more strategic, value-added tasks. But even the most mundane volunteer role can offer an opportunity to practice leadership skills.

For instance, leaders often look for ways to improve outcomes by optimizing processes. So when a volunteer role is tied to an inefficient process, suggesting process improvements to the volunteer leader can be helpful. This could help the organization become more efficient and, ultimately, more successful.

Part-time Leadership

Part-time jobs that may not offer a career path or much prestige, can provide structure and valuable challenges. Professional titles help orient an organization’s employees and customers, but these titles are not the only sources of leadership. Those in part-time roles can lead too.

Just as a volunteer can suggest improvements, so too can a part-time employee. Furthermore, a part-time employee will have enough experience and knowledge of an organization to provide ideas for improving work culture, hiring, and training. If the fit is right, a part-time employee might have an interest and opportunity to move into a full-time leadership role.

Contract Leadership

For those looking to practice leadership on a flexible schedule and with compensation, contract work might be the right leadership opportunity. Of course, this often requires that the individual has a specific skill set to offer a client. Contracts usually arise because an organization lacks the internal expertise or bandwidth to complete a project.

One of the benefits of working as a contractor is that you are given ownership of a project and a degree of autonomy in its completion. Successful contract work can lead to full-time employment with the contracting organization or help build an impressive resume that highlights leadership qualities such as adaptability.

Mentor Leadership

One of the best ways to practice leadership is by sharing what we know. It’s not uncommon for leaders to undervalue their past experiences as they look ahead to new opportunities and challenges. However, it’s likely that there is someone one out there–an aspiring leader, perhaps–who could learn from those experiences.

Mentoring is a form of leadership that takes place on a one-to-one basis. This is ideal for those looking to get back on the leadership path because it removes the complexity of leading multiple personalities, skill sets, and needs. Additionally, the mentor-mentee relationship creates a tighter feedback loop, which can help accelerate the practice of leadership for both.

Take Action

Again, leadership is a skill that must be practiced. It cannot live by itself in thoughts and good intentions, or in title and popularity; it must be put into action. After deciding which leadership opportunity to pursue, the next step is simple: act.

Leadership in action is proactively securing the opportunity, learning the expectations, setting goals, and organizing resources to execute and succeed. Depending on the leadership opportunity, the impact of the work will vary; however, the main concern should be the effective practice of leadership toward ultimate success. With each instance of leadership practice and success, momentum will build and reignite dormant leadership skills.