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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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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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Recruiting and Retaining Employees

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Recruiting and Retaining Employees

Recruiting and retaining employees are topics we often talk about here on our exaqueo blog, rightfully so - these are fundamental to the talent and HR world! Since thinking in these areas are often evolving, we like to revisit them often. Here is some of the latest thinking around recruiting and retaining employees. 

1) How Mining Data About Employees Could Give You A Competitive Edge from Forbes

"It’s no secret that the world’s most successful companies all have one thing in common: They’re able to recruit —and retain — the best and brightest minds. Indeed, a global battle for top talent is heating up, and companies in industries from high tech to retail are finding big advantages in big data. As younger-generation workers continue to job-hop their way up the corporate ladder—or even strike off as entrepreneurs—job loyalty is in decline. How can companies do a better job retaining employees? According to Leerom Segal, co-author of New York Times bestselling book “The Decoded Company,” the answer could lie in big data."

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Results and Impacts of Gap’s Effort to Increase Hourly Wages

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Results and Impacts of Gap’s Effort to Increase Hourly Wages

In March, I wrote about Gap’s efforts to raise the minimum wage for its employees. As a former employee of Gap, I thought this was a bold move that showed how the company values its employees, especially those on the front lines. When I worked there, minimum wage was $5.25. I remember getting my paycheck after a few 4-hour shifts and feeling so defeated having put in hours of work and not seeing much payoff. But the discount was good!

It’s been a few months since Gap took this initiative, and they are already seeing results.  The company shared that “employment applications at the Gap and Old Navy chains have surged by at least 10 percent from a year earlier.” Not only have the effects impacted recruiting, they are also touching the brand as a whole: “Gap’s stock has gained 6.5 percent this year, outpacing a 5.5 percent advance by the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.” While there are other factors that contribute to a rising stock price, this one certainly didn’t hurt it. Gap’s efforts have also sparked a trend. Ikea pledged to increase hourly pay by 17% in certain cities.

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Focusing on Employee Happiness

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Focusing on Employee Happiness

Summer is usually a time when people are generally happy. The weather is warm, the sun is out longer, and vacations are plentiful. These are all things that boost a person's mood. What if your employer could contribute to a person's happiness too? Here are some excellent articles focusing on employee happiness. 

And speaking of vacations, happy 4th of July to our American friends and clients! 

1. 6 Tips For Keeping Your Employees Happy from Careerealism

"Managing an office and keeping employees happy is no small task. The truth is, sometimes no matter what you do it’s nearly impossible to make everyone happy at the same time. The key to minimizing employee turnover rate is to make people feel acknowledged and appreciated. As mentioned on Deputy’s blog, being an effective manager is all about communication."

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Welcome to Our Newest Team Member: Wendy Timmons

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Welcome to Our Newest Team Member: Wendy Timmons

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One of the benefits of working with exaqueo is access to expert consultants who didn't start out that way. Everyone on our team built their experience working in-house first.  So we understand what it's like to have to answer to internal stakeholders and balance competing interests, resources, and goals.

With that in mind, we're thrilled to welcome Wendy Timmons to our team. A seasoned HR leader, Wendy actually began her career in finance and has an MBA, so she speaks the language of business and results first. A seasoned HR leader, Wendy served in several HR leadership roles with GE in multiple locations from plants to HQ.  Her experience extends from both domestic and international assignments.

Most recently, Wendy worked with Nashville-based Asurion as the HR Leader for the Finance, Legal, Underwriting, and Business Development functions.

Wendy has a BS in Business Administration from Lander University with a concentration in Finance, and an International MBA from The University of South Carolina. She is certified Six Sigma and has a Master Black Belt in HR.

Wendy’s a native of Columbia, SC and currently lives in Nashville, TN with her husband and two children where she loves to cycle and practice yoga. 

Learn more about Wendy and the exaqueo team.

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Recruitment Done Right

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Recruitment Done Right

This week we are sharing the latest thinking on "Recruitment Done Right." From long-lasting trends to recruiting leaders, here are some insightful articles on the latest best practices in recruiting. 

1) 5 Trends And Buzzwords That Continue To Shape HR from Forbes

"The SHRM annual conference is a fave happening of mine, a collective (and fun-filled) eye opener that helps us all move forward, an atmosphere that’s booming with innovation and global community building. It’s always fun being in the midst of it and meeting new people. For #SHRM14, I’m taking part in a series of HR Influencer panels and events, I’m back again with the blog squad and of course I will be spending quality time meeting with clients, colleagues and friends. And of course….The parties and new and interesting connections await."

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: How to Engage and Re-engage Your Employees

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: How to Engage and Re-engage Your Employees

We always talk about engagement here at exaqueo. Studies show a correlation between an engaged employee and service, sales, quality, safety, retention, profit and total shareholder returns. So it's not something to be ignored. Yet many companies do. Here is some of the latest thinking on how to engage and re-engage your employees. 

1) The Secret To Re-Engaging Employees: It's You from Forbes

"I recently spent time with two individuals in a unique line of work: Employee Engagement Experts, Ron Hirshfeld and Irit Oz. Together they help organizations achieve the seemingly impossible: turning around employee disengagement. Research claims “disengagement” (burnout, boredom, lateness, lackluster performance and workplace conflict) affects as many as 9 in 10 employees. Turning the equation around saves millions of dollars, to the tune of perhaps as much as $50 million for a company of 500 employees. (As I recently noted, Gallup pegs the cost of lost productivity due to absence, illness and stress-related work problems in excess of $350 billion per year nationwide.)"

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If You Think Big Data is All About Numbers, Think Again

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If You Think Big Data is All About Numbers, Think Again

Data. Analytics. Statistics. Not the topics you’d expect to dominate human resources. But the big data conversation is not only getting louder, HR’s role is the center of the discussion.

After all, if big data is really about looking for relationships in data sets, who better to play a role?

Cutting edge analysts like John Sumser have been talking about big data since 2012. But experts and academicians are complaining that HR still isn’t taking charge.  After the recent Wharton People Analytics Conference, professor Peter Cappelli complained that the real work was happening with CIOs and in IT—not in HR:

“The big-data people aren’t reinventing the wheel. They’ve already found things that traditional HR researchers never knew and, frankly speaking, never thought to ask. One reason is because they have better data,” said Cappelli.

But do they?  Or do they just have more of the quantitative we’ve come to drown in?

As big data has gotten bigger, HR has shifted towards a metrics approach. After all, with ATS, HRIS and performance metrics, it’s easier (and cheaper) to rely on the numbers to drive decisions. And companies such as Microsoft want to take it all the way.

Wharton Magazine reported on Microsoft’s presentation at their conference:

“[During] the presentation by Dawn Klinghoffer, senior director of HR Business Insights at Microsoft, Klinghoffer delved straight into Microsoft’s end goal: to eliminate human interaction from the hiring process at Microsoft.”

Why would any organization want to eliminate the human process from anything?

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Tips for Communicating to Employees During Change

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Tips for Communicating to Employees During Change

We often work with companies who are going through a state of change, and I’ve experienced many of these projects during my management consulting days. Organizational change is tricky, and very few companies are successful at it. In fact, a study done by Towers Watson found that only 25% of companies see long-term success from a change. The study cites communication as part of this failure – about two-thirds of senior managers and only about half of middle managers say they receive the messages.

In so many of the projects we work on, it always comes down to communication. And this makes sense – it’s such a part of human relationships. How many times have you found yourself in an argument with a significant other because of a break in communication? Or how many times have you left a meeting and thought you were all on the same page only to find out everyone had very different takeaways?

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: The Best in Company Culture

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: The Best in Company Culture

We talk a lot about company culture at exaqueo, and advise clients on how to pull out the aspects of their culture that make them unique. This week we're sharing some examples of companies who have discovered their unique qualities and promoted them as part of their culture. Remember, when it comes to company culture, it's not about copying what the latest trends are, but finding what makes your company stand out, and then pulling that through the employment experience. Here's the best in company culture:

1) How to Create an Awesome Company Culture (No Perks Necessary) from Inc.com

"It's not about what makes your company unique or noteworthy, it's about how you treat your employees. I want to state up front that I love perks. And I'm a fan of unique company features like big scorecards, group community service outings, or weekend and evening e-mail bans. But if you want a great company culture, you don't need any of those things. Yep, you can have a great culture without a single yoga class or in-office kegerator."

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One Way to Solve Employee Engagement You've Never Thought Of

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One Way to Solve Employee Engagement You've Never Thought Of

Employee engagement is enough to make any leader roll his eyes. We all know the data--and it isn't good. Employees aren't engaged. They hate their work. And with the recession showing signs of ending, the talent war will pick back up again. If you're an HR leader, you're questioning the solution.  But the answer isn't at work.

Scores of thought leaders have their own approach to increasing employee engagement: from engagement surveys and action plans to pulse feedback and brand ambassadors. These solutions might help address problems in the short-term, but never to seem to solve for the long-term state of engagement in the workplace. And that's because we only focus on engagement at work

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Careers Sites

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Careers Sites

In honor of launching our new website this week (if you haven't already, poke around and tell us what you think!), we thought it would be appropriate to focus this roundup on the part of the web most relevant to talent and HR: careers sites.  This week the roundup features the latest in career site updates and announcements from companies across the country.

1) With New Website, Pep Boys Wants to Attract People Who ‘Put Customers First’ from ERE

"Pep Boys has sent a new career site live, one aimed at attracting people with a customer-service mentality. Pep Boys, which operates in 35 states in the U.S. as well as in Puerto Rico, wants to be known for having great customer service. That effort has been a couple of years in the making." 

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When Experience Is No Longer Relevant

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When Experience Is No Longer Relevant

I was listening to a radio show on NPR the other morning, and the debate was around the “Sharing Economy,” which is disrupting the way consumers purchase certain services. Uber and Airbnb are two major players in this new way of selling to consumers.

The debate around these companies right now is that they are circumventing the highly regulated industries they are touching. City taxi cabs are under strict state and local regulations. Cities are trying to find how Uber fits into the rules. Some people argue Airbnb should be taxed the same way hotels are taxed.

On this radio show, they spoke about how cities are approaching these new entrants. They spoke of panels made up of people who had decades of experience in each respective industry. It got me thinking about the value of all that experience in an era where the old rules don’t apply anymore. That “experience” comes from a time that is completely irrelevant to the current situation.

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Why Focusing on Your Employees Will Make You a Better Recruiter

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Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Why Focusing on Your Employees Will Make You a Better Recruiter

Being a recruiter is a balancing act. You're juggling so many different things at once and have a lot of different people to please. It's sometimes easy to lose sight of what it's all about - the employees.

Here are a few recent articles that explain why focusing on your employees will make you a better recruiter for this week's talent and HR news weekly roundup.

1) It Takes Talent To Become A Top Recruiter from Forbes

"Job seekers these days have few advantages when applying for jobs if they don’t have an inside contact to smooth the path. The best recruiters make it easy to connect and make it possible to forge a working relationship with the brand. A recruiters job is to find top talent, yes, but a big part of that job is defending the brand against bad hires – think of Zappos’ practice of buying out employees who don’t “fit” quickly. And they continue to innovate. Zappos’ is currently doing a great job of spotlighting their recruiters. A brand win, win. This means, as with in-the-trenches HR, a large part of their job is risk management."

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Four Talent Lessons From the NFL Draft

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Four Talent Lessons From the NFL Draft

Every year, it's a  chance to start over. Fresh talent, new strategies and a focus on success. Launching a company? Growing a business? Launching a new division? Starting a new project? No. I'm talking about football.

With football, every year is a chance to revisit, rebuild and reignite a team around a common goal: winning. And everyone's on board to get there. Everyone.

Imagine if we had this rigor in business. 

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Culture + Talent: Q&A with Cathy Atkins from Metis Communications

We often sit down with leaders of growing businesses to get their take on culture and talent. I recently spoke with Cathy Atkins, co-founder of Metis Communications, a public relations and marketing firm. Cathy has more than 17 years of experience helping companies get in front of the right audiences at the right time. With a mission of “doing our best work ever,” Metis works closely with high-growth, emerging companies that need a true business partner to help them build influence and create measurable results. The “Metis way” is something the company’s team embodies daily, which Cathy hopes will have a long-lasting effect in redrawing the boundaries for PR and marketing.  Here’s what Cathy has to say about culture and talent at Metis.

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