Insight


exaqueo's weekly blog featuring insight from our team on industry news and trends, our research, client work and lessons learned.

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Recent Blog Posts

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Is A Company's Culture For Real? Or Just BS? Here's How to Tell.

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Is A Company's Culture For Real? Or Just BS? Here's How to Tell.

Between cool perks and lists of values on walls and career sites, it seems like it's easy to get a sense of a company's culture.  But when we ask job seekers, they usually use benign and visceral words like "cool" and "seems like a great place to work."  

Similarly, our clients are often asking: "can you help make us an employer of choice?" Sure. But for whom?

Whether you're a job seeker, CEO or recruiter, understanding a company's culture (or lack thereof) is key to determining if you fit, who fits and how to find the right people who fit.  Read on for eight key questions to ask as your litmus test.

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Talent and HR News Weekly Update: Effective Employee Incentives & Motivators

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Talent and HR News Weekly Update: Effective Employee Incentives & Motivators

Managers are always looking for new and different ideas to keep their teams incentivized and motivated. To help give you some food for thought, we've pulled recent articles for this week's Talent and HR News Weekly Update that feature some new and effective employee incentives and motivators to keep your employees working hard. 

1) 7 Easy Steps for Encouraging Employees to Take Initiative from entrepreneur.com

"Taking initiative is essentially assuming the risk of a possible failure. When doing so, you put yourself out there and things don’t always go as planned. But the alternative is choosing to be inactive. If you're a leader, it's vital that members of your team make the right choice between doing nothing and doing something. For a healthy, forward-looking operation, they should want to choose action -- and this begins with the encouragement of a proactive leader."

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Four Ways to Stop Pretending You Know Your Workforce

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Four Ways to Stop Pretending You Know Your Workforce

Most leaders think they know their employees. When CEOs, CHROs and executives describe their company's culture they usually launch into a laundry list of descriptors: innovative, energetic, committed, supportive.  Recently,  I asked a leading HR executive how she knew her culture was this way. Without a beat, she pointed to data: employee opinion and engagement surveys.

Then, she fell into the trap most executives do:

"I've also been with the company for a long time and seen and heard a lot through town halls, employee events and walking the hallways. In fact, my executive team and I just redid our values and we're about to roll them out."

And herein lies the problem. The average Fortune 100 CEO is 57 years old, makes $11 million and is highly likely to have a graduate degree (65% do). Think your average employee is anything like this? Or that they're ready and comfortable to open up to leaders and CEOs? Not so much. 

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Trends for Recruiting Functions & Challenges

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Trends for Recruiting Functions & Challenges

Hard to stay on top of the latest trends in recruiting? We've got you covered. This week's Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup features trends for recruiting functions and challenges for a myriad of sources. Enjoy!

1) Recruiting Isn’t Enough Anymore; Business Advising is the New Norm for Corporate Recruiters from ERE

"Most recruiting leaders have had coffee-shop or happy-hour conversations with each other about “having a seat at the table” or being a “more strategic partner” to the business. There is no doubt these clichés are played out (and there’s a good chance you’re rolling your eyes at the thought of reading another article about this). The truth is, there are talent-acquisition departments that talk about having a seat at the table; heck, they might even lobby so hard to get to this “table” they get a pity invite."

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Talent and HR News Weekly Update: Hiring the Right Leadership

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Talent and HR News Weekly Update: Hiring the Right Leadership

Your leadership team and management are a key part of your company. A company's strategy is pushed down to all employees through these crucial levels, so it is important the right people are in place for these roles. That starts with hiring the right leadership. Here are some articles to help you think through how to bring in the right people to fill these crucial roles. 

1) Hire Great Bosses from SmartBrief

"One of the most important hiring decisions companies make is who to put into leadership roles. How well does your company do on this critical task? The Gallup organization reports that organizations make bad leadership hiring decisions 82% of the time (!). Gallup’s research indicates that managers account for 70% of the variance in employee engagement. That huge impact on employee engagement translates into good or not so good performance, customer service, quality, profitability, and discretionary energy being applied to daily tasks."

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The HR Newbie's Cheat Sheet

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The HR Newbie's Cheat Sheet

There’s something I love about working with young, aspiring HR professionals.  They’re hungry to grow, don’t have any of the misconceptions about HR (yet) and have a real opportunity to dispel some of the myths about the value of HR. 

One of the things they always ask is “how can I learn more about what’s happening in HR?” That same sentiment is often echoed from seasoned tech and business professionals transferring over to HR for the first time. They may be working on a new tech product or be asked to rotate through HR. Either way, understanding the function is key.

The most important thing you can do if you’re new to HR is to learn the profession. Understand its roots, and pay attention to what HR leaders and professionals do every day: their challenges, their priorities and their agendas.

So here’s my cheat sheet: after almost 17 years in HR, my recommendations on the quick way to immerse yourself in the world of human resources. Read more...

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Talent and HR News Weekly Update: Ways to Inspire and Motivate Employees

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Talent and HR News Weekly Update: Ways to Inspire and Motivate Employees

Coming up with new and unique ways to continuously inspire and motivate employees is hard when you're juggling many things at once. This doesn't always stay top of mind, and it's easy to neglect. To give you some ideas, we've put together a grouping of articles on ways to inspire and motivate employees. We like to think of it as inspiring you to inspire them. 

1) 5 Ways to Inspire and Motivate Your Employees from Workplace Insights

"While many successful leaders know how to handle the nuts and bolts of a business, they may fall short in inspiring and motivating their workforce to greatness. As John Quincy Adams, our sixth President, said, 'If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.' A study reported in Harvard Business Review surveyed over 300,000 bosses, peers and subordinates to determine what skills have the greatest impact on a leader’s success, asking respondents to rank 16 competencies of managers at four levels of authority.  Of the 16 competencies, the 'ability to inspire and motivate others' was seen as most important across all management positions."

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Big Data in HR

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Big Data in HR

In honor of our most recent announcement launching The Workforce Lab (did you see it? Here it is in case you missed it), this week's Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup focuses on big data in HR. Big data is making a splash outside of HR, so here are ways the HR world can leverage the latest trend.

1) HR Struggles with Big Data Benefits from Inside HR

"HR professionals should seriously examine the relevance and potential limitations of big data when it comes to the HR function, according to an expert in HR technology and strategy. 'Big data is one of the more over hyped things in the world right now,' said Jason Averbook, CEO and cofounder of human capital management consultancy Knowledge Infusion. 'While it’s true that we have more data, the question is do we have the right data?' Averbook said hype around big data may be another case of the HR community’s over-reliance on technology to solve organisational problems. While HR has done well in automating process, the function has generally struggled in moving 'process to prescription', he said."

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Why HR is Important to Your Business

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Why HR is Important to Your Business

When thinking about "business," what comes to mind first is finance, selling goods and services, advertising...Human Resources is not necessarily at the top of the list. Yet it's a necessary function to keep a business running because no matter what, there are people involved in a business. And not only is it necessary, it's important. Below are some thoughtful pieces around why HR is important to your business. 

1) What Organizations Need Now From Human Resources from Forbes

"The job of Human Resources today is to make people and organizations grow, yet it has only marginally evolved since its inception around the end of the nineteenth century. Starting as 'Personnel,' to protect women and girls in industrial environments, it gradually morphed into other realms including employee hiring, firing, attendance, and compensation. Motivation, organizational behavior, and selection assessments were added to the mix in the 1960s and ’70s. Over the last decade or so, the title of H.R. Business Partner – essentially a business-focused H.R. Manager role – was introduced with little impact."

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exaqueo Launches The Workforce Lab

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exaqueo Launches The Workforce Lab

Lately, we've all been obsessed with big data. We love the idea of being able to analyze data patterns and better predict who to hire and how to better manage and develop the talent we already have. For organizations trying to scale, it may mean developing dashboards or analyzing existing processes to see if they're actually working.

For growing and mature organizations, it means using the latest in data science to look at existing organizational data—from employee communications to internal human resources data—and assess it for behavioral trends and patterns about how your employees get work done—individually and across the organization.

exaqueo is excited to announce our latest endeavor: The Workforce Lab.  We've partnered with RedOwl Analytics and our forward-thinking approach was covered in today's Washington Post.

We're currently looking for clients interested in exploring the latest in big data and predictive analytics. Learn more at The Workforce Lab.  

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Using LinkedIn for Recruiting

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Using LinkedIn for Recruiting

LinkedIn has transformed the recruiting community for the better. It's a tool that changed recruiting and gave recruiters access to millions of candidates and networks. Smaller or growing companies may not have access to the same information as larger firms though, so her are some tips for using LinkedIn for recruiting. 

1) Great Faux Pas in Recruiting: Plagiarizing from RecruitDC

"Usually when a recruiter contacts someone via LinkedIn, it’s because s/he saw something of interest on that person’s profile. Then there’s THIS GUY that apparently liked what he saw enough to plagiarize it. As I typically do prior to responding to any message, I clicked on the profile of the sender to gather some information. Imagine my reaction (it went something like this @#$%^&!!!!!) when I immediately recognized a specific segment of that guy’s summary section as MY OWN WORDS from my profile. That’s right. Words that I placed together to form a phrase, sentence or statement on MY very own LinkedIn profile summary section about MY very own professional situation actually appeared VERBATIM on that person’s profile."

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Five Questions You're Not Asking About Your People Data

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Five Questions You're Not Asking About Your People Data

Quick quiz--how many presentations have you given with percentages or pie charts?  Business has always been a numbers game.  Every proposal, every case, every request for funding--data drives decisions and we know it. And now we gone big. Big data.

Sure, big data is all the rage, but employing advanced techniques or technology won't be valuable unless you have the right foundation to begin with.  It's easy to get excited about the prospect of advanced data science, predictive analytics and algorithms.

None of that matters unless you have your data in order to begin with. Human resources teams collect buckets of metrics from numerous systems and sometimes never bother to wade through what the metrics actually mean. 

Before you go big, take a good look at your existing measures for an all-important reality check. Ask these five questions about your key people metrics.

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Creating the Best Company Culture

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Creating the Best Company Culture

Company culture is the foundation of a company. Every company has a culture even without trying. At its core, it's acceptable behavior in a given environment. What about being intentional about your culture though? Since it is so foundational, thinking about the type of culture you want to create is crucial. Here are some thoughts on creating the best company culture. 

1) Company Culture, The Engine that Fuels the Company from Your Own Brand

"A culture can generally be described as the practices and values that are shared by people within a certain group.  A company culture, then, is the shared practices and values of the employees within a certain company.  The culture within a company is very important because it can really help a company thrive, or break it down.  Companies that have good cultures that are lined up with their overall business goals will generally out perform competition.  In order to make the most of your own company’s culture, you need to figure out what culture you currently have, what you would like to have, and how you can make changes to improve it."

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Creating Buy-in for Your Ideas

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Creating Buy-in for Your Ideas

Have you ever been in a situation where you have said, “I told you so”? Those words include the thrill of being right (I for one live for these moments of being right!). But these words indicate that a person didn’t follow your advice. What good is that? Who cares if you were right, the person didn’t believe you enough to follow your recommended action, which resulted in the unfavorable outcome you predicted.

A mentor of mine shared this advice with me when I told him a story where I ended up being right about what would happen if someone didn’t follow my advice. He said the fault isn’t on the person for not following the advice, but rather on me for not being able to convince the person to take my advice. This really changed my mindset and approach when convincing people to believe me.

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Rethinking HR

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Rethinking HR

It's easy to get into a rut and continue doing things the way they always have been done. Every once in a while, it's helpful to take a step back and ask, "is this there a better way to do this?" Here's your opportunity to ask that question for Human Resources with some great articles around rethinking areas of HR and trying out something new. 

1) Rethinking the Review from Human Resource Executive

"After 50 years of debate, has the time finally come to chuck the performance review? Adobe Systems Inc. has long been renowned for its innovative multimedia and creativity software products, most notably Photoshop, Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader, and the Portable Document Format that we all know as the PDF. By the fall of 2011, however, the San Jose, Calif.-based company had shifted its focus toward rich Internet-application software development -- specifically digital media and digital marketing."

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Technology Trends in HR

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Technology Trends in HR

There are new technologies popping up every day in the HR space, it's hard to keep track of what's actually worthwhile. This week's talent and HR news weekly roundup features technology trends in HR from a variety of sources. Check them out and let us know what you're seeing out there too. 

1) The Hot HR Technology Trends Of 2014 from Forbes

"The Information Services Group III, a leading technology insights, market intelligence and advisory services company, recently conducted the ‘Industry Trends in Human Resources Technology and Service Delivery Survey’. Released in February 2014, the survey presents findings, which, while not surprising, should be top of mind for leaders and talent managers everywhere. The survey points to three benefits companies expect to realize from investments in HR tech (quoting from the report): an improved user and candidate experience, access to ongoing innovation and best practices to support the business, and speed of implementation to increase the value of technology to the organization."

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Four Things HR Professionals Can Learn From "Ban the Box"

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Four Things HR Professionals Can Learn From "Ban the Box"

It's not a new initiative, but the "ban the box" campaign is picking up steam again, as additional jurisdictions around the country consider taking action. If you're not aware, "ban the box" refers to the box job applicants often have to check admitting if they have past convictions or criminal offenses.  

Regardless of how you personally feel about "ban the box," there are key lessons for any HR or recruiting professional. Too often, it's easy to get mired in your work--heads down and focused on the task at hand.  We leave the politics and legal issues to our leaders and lawyers. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't get involved or understand when our companies take (or don't take) action.

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: New Trends in Human Resources

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: New Trends in Human Resources

Human Resources is all around us. It's more than just benefits and personnel issues too, and the field has earned a seat at the table in recent years. After all, once the recession hit, the world realized how important jobs really are to a functioning and thriving economy. As the HR function has grown, here are some new trends and thinking in the space. 

1) Why It's A 'Glorious Time' To Be in HR from Forbes

"Last month employers in the U.S. added 288,000 jobs. It marked the best five month stretch of job creation since 2008 and the U.S. economy has now officially recovered from the job losses of the last great recession. Of course this is great news for everyone. But there’s one tech industry in particular that particularly benefits when more people are working. Those are the companies that make human resources (HR) software."

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Cell phone use at work: What’s acceptable?

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Cell phone use at work: What’s acceptable?

They are ubiquitous. Cell phones. 61% of the global population uses mobile phones, and 25% of the population uses smartphones. Providing many different convenient ways of easy communication - through calls, text messages, emails, social media - Adults spend an average of 58 minutes on their mobile phone a day. And that number is much higher for young adults.

Remember that amount of time isn’t at one sitting, so some of this time on a cell phone is inevitably spent at work. Communicating through these channels is more discreet than on your computer screen. A text message is much more inconspicuous than a phone call which can be heard by your cube mates. This technology is convenient, but are cell phones taking away from productivity at work?

Before taking any action and creating policies around cell phone usage, here are a few things to consider:

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