Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Hiring and Keeping the Best of the Best

We challenge you to attempt three things for your recruiting and retention strategy. First, hire the right employee. Second, hire the best of the best. Third, keep the best of the best. Easy, right? Not quite. These are some of the toughest things startup and growing businesses face. Everyone is looking at hiring and keeping the best of the best. Here is some of the latest thinking around how to do this in this week’s weekly roundup.

1) When It Comes to Hiring and Keeping Great Employees, How Do You Stack Up Against the Best? from Inc.

“Consider benchmarking your hiring, salary setting, and mentorship strategies against those of the fastest-growing U.S. companies. Last year, Sam Bacharach, Cornell professor and co-founder of the Bacharach Leadership group, surveyed  more than 300 Inc. 5000 firms to find out how America’s fastest-growing companies recruit and develop their best employees. The infographic below displays his results.” Read More…



Office Space Design: Q&A with Anne Regan

The environment around you can greatly affect your mood and productivity. Think about days when you wake up to gray skies and endless rain. You have zero motivation to get out of bed. By contrast, when you wake up to the sun and 70 degrees, you have all the motivation in the world to get up and get moving.

This translates to your work environment as well. You hear about new office spaces – like Facebook or Google – that are designed to motivate a desired behavior (be that creativity, innovation, collaboration, etc.) and reflect a company’s culture and brand. This is what Anne Regan does for a living – she designs office space as a Senior Manager at DBI Architects, which is a DC-based, full-service architecture and interior design firm. Their belief is that “beautiful environments foster meaningful human interaction and successful business outcomes.” I sat down with Anne, who has been with the firm for eleven years, to better understand the role of office space design for organizations, how that reflects a company culture, and how it impacts a workforce. Read More…



Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: A Primer for the Modern Recruiter – Tips to Rethink your Role

This week’s Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup features a primer for the modern recruiter and includes articles that cover tips to rethink your role as a recruiter. It’s easy to fall into a pattern of doing things the way you always have. Face it, today’s recruiting challenges are different from yesterday’s challenges, and hopefully these tips will highlight some new approaches.

1) 5 Ways To Reinvent Your Recruiting Strategy from Forbes.com

“I’ve seen this happen before: even the very best in-your-face, cult-like workforce culture can’t survive a profits meltdown.  What drew employees to the thriving company – bragging rights, benefits, big salaries and big personalities – will push them away when the shine is off the company, salaries and benefits are frozen, and career advancement is slowed. And forget about trying to fill those empty seats when business picks up – news of a shaky workplace and broken culture travels fast.” Read More…



Great Recruiting is Not a Supply Chain

Angry CustomerMost job seekers don’t brag about the application process.  They hate it–the black hole of recruiting, the time it takes to hear back from recruiters and the length and complication of the process.

But they don’t always have insight into recruiters’ woes either: heavy requisition loads, corporate processes and rules, and inappropriate candidate behaviors.

Case in point: last week, a recruiting leader posted the following:

“Recruiter friends, I need your input: I rejected an applicant who really wasn’t qualified for a position. Granted, it was a canned rejection response [but] the candidate’s reply [ended in]: ‘go suck a [male body part]‘. Respond?”

And the recruiting community responded with a variety of opinions including:

  • “Write him back and say that the original rejection letter was a mistake and he was going to get called into an interview but due to his response, you can’t recommend him.”
  • “I get those all the time…I usually just laugh at them and move on…seems like a lot of energy to waste.”
  • “The time it takes to write back could be much better spent on a blog post to other sensible job seekers about what not to do.”

I noticed one thing missing in the suggested responses. No one seemed to care why the candidate would respond like that. Read More…



Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: How to Engage Employees

Everyone has heard of the nebulous term “engagement” when it comes to employees. We all know that engagement is relatively low across the board, so now what? You want to jump to action and bring that engagement level up. Below are some articles on how to engage employees and take this vague term and turn it into tangible action.

1) Recognize, Reward And Engage Your Multi-Generational Workforce from Forbes

“Many leaders and HR pros are struggling to find a way to make multi-generational workforces mesh and be productive. The chatter is all about the changing workforce and managing generational “differences” or as I prefer to say “nuances”…When will we finally be ready to walk the walk (less talk, more action already) about bringing people together?” Read More…



Using Vacation Policy to Promote Your Culture & Brand

Your company culture and your employer brand can be pulled through to any part of your organization that touches your employees, including a vacation policy. A company’s vacation policy, and how you promote it, can say a lot about your culture and brand.  The spectrum is broad – from no vacation for the first year of employment to unlimited vacation. Some industries – such as the financial industry – require two weeks (to be taken all at once) for legal reasons. Some companies opt to make their vacation policies unique to their company. Here are a few examples of different vacation policies that connect with the culture: Read More…



Be A Balanced Giver: The Better Way to Network


Businesses are built on relationships. We hire, expand and grow by finding, meeting and engaging with new people. Then why is networking such a burden? Time.

As an entrepreneur, I often struggle with how to make it work. I hate saying “no” to any networking request on the premise I can either help someone or they can help me. And often you don’t know if it’s valuable until you’re well into the call or meeting.

But I still try to be a giver. I respond to every networking request on the “you never know” premise. Until I realized it was getting in the way of growing my business.

Read More…



Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Innovating Your Business

Innovation has been a buzzword for a while now. By definition, it means something new or different introduced. In a highly competitive world, innovation is key to keep your business fresh and stay alongside or ahead of the competition. This week’s roundup features articles on innovative companies and ways of innovating your business.

1) The World’s Most Innovative Companies 2014 from Fast Company

“In this special report on the World’s Most Innovative Companies, there are plenty of examples to make you a believer (“I’ve never been more excited about the possibilities ahead of us,” Nike CEO Mark Parker recently told me). Our staff has spent more than six months gathering and analyzing data. To generate our list of the 50 Most Innovative Companies–and the accompanying top 10 companies in various sectors–we assessed thousands of enterprises.” Read More…



Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Sourcing and Recruiting Technical Talent

In today’s world, technical talent is essential. And finding and keeping this type of talent is tough. There are only so many people with the right skills, and it’s an incredibly competitive environment. For this week’s roundup, we share some great finds about sourcing and recruiting technical talent.

1) How to Source Tech Talent in 5 Easy Steps from Undercover Recruiter

“Candidates can be easy to find, but you have to be willing to take part in the communities where they can be found. Places such as Github and Stack Overflow are good places to start, and can be extremely useful to SEE what candidates can do, instead of just reading about their potential. If you know where to look, and how to find people, you can find them – but make sure you build up a name for yourself first.”

Read More…



The Gap: Increasing Employee Retention through Increasing Its Minimmum Wage

The Gap EmailAs part of my morning routine, I was sifting through emails on my iPhone today when I came across an email from Gap Inc. with the subject line, “Gap is doing more…” I normally delete these sorts of promotional emails, but this subject line was catchy enough to get me to click through. I assumed it was some sort of corporate social responsibility effort, like reusing waste products from the supply chain or partnering with a non-profit. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it had to do with increasing the minimum hourly rate of their employees to $9 in 2014 and to $10 in 2015. As a customer and former employee of the Gap, I applaud the company, and it’s not necessarily because I feel strongly one way or the other about the minimum wage debate. Read More…



Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Tips and Must-haves for Developing HR Policies and Writing Policy Manuals

No matter how small you are, HR Policies and Manuals are an important part of your organization. They reflect your culture and the type of business you want to operate, as well as protect your company should a legal issue occur with an employee. Below are some tips and must-haves for developing HR policies and writing policy manuals.

1) Checklist: Essential Items for Employee Handbook from HR World

“One of the most important features of any successful business is a trusting but professional relationship between the employer and the employed — and one of the best ways to establish this is through employee handbooks. These handbooks set out company policies, procedures and expectations, clearing up confusion and avoiding conflict down the line. Furthermore, they create a structured work environment and help build company loyalty. However, employee handbooks have also been the downfall of many companies. When poorly written, they can do everything from creating a hostile work environment to legally binding an organization to promises it didn’t even know it made.” Read More…



“And the Winner Is”…One Way to Create Employer Brand Awareness

Ellen Degeneres TwitterLast night millions of Americans tuned into the Oscars to find out who the most talented people are in show business. Why do these awards matter to us so much that we even broke Twitter from excessive retweeting? Awards mean credibility. It’s a way for industries to call out excellence and inform the public of the best of the best. The actors, writers, and directors who were nominated and won last night worked hard to get to that point. The exclusive club of Oscar winners practically guarantees a spot in any movie of the actor’s choice. The personal brand recognition of an Oscar winner sky rockets, and the public is now more willing to spend $12 to see his/her movie.

The same applies to your employer brand. As a startup or growing company, you are competing with bigger, well-known brands for talent. You are always looking for ways to show credibility early on, and one way (certainly not the only way) could be to stand out through employment-related awards. Read More…



Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Biggest Recruitment Challenges

Building a candidate pipeline? Recruiting on campus? Or finding someone who is the right fit for expansive growth? These are not easy recruitment tasks. Recruitment can be quite challenging and expensive. Here is a roundup of helpful articles to tackle some of the biggest recruitment challenges.

1) 50 Startup Founders Share Their Biggest Hiring Challenges  from SmartRecruiters

“’In the early, scrappy days of a startup when you have very limited time/resources, you need to strike a great balance between hiring someone for position-need versus hiring someone that’s great regardless of position. If you’re stuck with the position in mind, you may be building a team for near-term need rather than superstar people. But if you’re not practical about growing, you may never get anything done and it’ll never really matter.’ -Founder & CEO Daniel Ha, DisqusRead More…



The Value of Culture and Employer Brand in High Turnover Industries

Over the weekend, I was explaining what I do to a few friends. In describing what we do, I emphasized the need for strong company culture, employer brand, and talent strategy because these elements of a business affect the bottom line in the long run. By not caring about these things, companies risk high turnover, among other consequences. Costing between 25% and 250% of a single employee’s annual salary, high turnover has a profound effect on the bottom line.  While explaining this to my friend, he asked, “is there ever a time when turnover is good?”

I had to think about this one for a bit. According to Software Advice, new employees who replace those who left can bring new ideas; however, high turnover is traditionally thought of as a negative indicator. That said, there are some industries where turnover inevitably is, and likely always will be, high. For example, retail, food service, or customer service are all industries with high turnover. These jobs consist of a workforce that is typically compensated on an hourly basis. There are many reasons why turnover is high in these industries – some of those people might be high school students or pursing higher education, some of those people may need a second job, or some people may be drawn to competitors. Read More…



Talent and HR News Weekly Roundup: Best Reads for Recruiters

There’s a whole lot of content out there for recruiters. Some good, some not so good. If you’re looking for some of the best reads for recruiters, we’ve sifted through recent content that’s out there and highlighted some of our favorites below. And please share anything you have come across in recent months in the comments below.

1) Recruiting: Darwinism or Creationism? from Recruiting Blogs

“Baby I Was Born This Way: Uh, no you weren’t. You were in a really good job that required either A. Good sales and client development skills B. Good research and/or organizational skills, or C. a love for making money.  Nobody grows up wanting to be a recruiter. We happen to luck into to it, and for some of us (the lucky ones?) it becomes the found career path.” Read More…



What Happens When Marketing and HR Fall in Love

downloadBrands are valuable. And organizations spend nearly half a trillion dollars every year to introduce, promote and manage their brands. In 2012, Procter & Gamble spent over $4.8 billion on advertising. Selling is an expensive proposition.

But it doesn’t have to be. Brands are finally starting to reap the value of social media and, as the 2013 Super Bowl proved, the brand value of one tweet can exceed the $3.5 million per-commercial ad spend.

Traditional advertising isn’t dead, but brands continue to look for ways to save money and use existing assets creatively.

Enter the workforce.  Talent and HR leaders know the value of an employer brand—essentially the reputation of your brand as a place to work. But in my previous role leading the employer brand function for Marriott International, I had to do much more that that. Branding the workforce is telling a great story and getting future employees to want to be a part of the tale. Read More…




Serving in the military is incredibly honorable. Service members learn so many useful skills and have the ability to perform well under intense pressure. Transitioning to civilian life can be an adjustment though. Veterans may have picked up desirable skills along the way, but it’s not always easy to understand how to transfer them to a “normal” job. This week’s talent and HR news weekly roundup features best practices in veteran recruiting – organizations and industries who are focused on recruiting veterans and ensuring their success in the civilian world.  Read More…



Connecting Employees to a Purpose and Employer Brand Loyalty


We now live in a world where consumers are more connected than ever before, and a small customer complaint can go viral. As a result, companies need to be just as connected to not only their customers, but also to their own employees to stay ahead. This is the basis of a book I recently read, “The Connected Company.” A part of the book that really struck me comes from this exerpt:

“Since 1960, services have dominated US employment. Today’s services sector makes up about 80% of the US economy. Services are integrated into everything we buy and use…companies like GE and IBM, which started in manufacturing , have made the transition, and now make the majority of their money in services.” Read More…




We all do it at work – check our personal email, make a doctor’s appointment, or make dinner reservations. Though small interruptions, these personal matters distract from our work in a given day. These are acceptable, within reason, at most workplaces. Some say the flexibility to handle personal matters while at work make for a more productive day. Other workplaces strictly forbid it depending on the level of security required by IT. Regardless, there is always opportunity to motivate and energize your employees to be as productive as they can in a given day.

This week’s roundup is timed for the winter doldrums when employees are over the holiday hump and have only the summer to look forward to. Here are some ideas from a variety of sources on keeping employees productive. Read More…



Employment Law Q&A with Rebecca Signer Roche

Startups and small companies don’t always have dedicated HR resources who can stay on top of employment law or enroll a lawyer to help with HR matters. To help understand common hurdles and trends for startups and small businesses related to employment law, we recently touched base with Rebecca Signer Roche, Senior Counsel on all labor and employment matters for DynCorp International. Previously, Rebecca was a labor and employment attorney at Littler Mendelson, P.C., and at McGuireWoods, LLP.

Lexi Gordon, exaqueo (LG): Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. I think many small and growing companies aren’t aware of just how important HR law is when it comes to building a business and managing risk. First things first, when it comes to employment law, what are the most common issues/concerns you see with newer and/or small companies?

Read More…