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How your HR department is destroying your brand

(Business News) Your HR department is on the front lines, but many in the department are hurting your brand – here’s how it is happening right in front of you, and how to fix it.

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human resources

The modern job hunt

I’ve been watching my son’s job hunt as of late with great curiosity after having spoken at a Human Resources Management Association (HRMA) conference a few years back, where I chastised their lust for more new systems rather than utilizing their existing systems. Oh, the gasps I received for pointing out positive ways to promote their brand, and reminding them strongly that they are on the front line of their brand image (most especially with applicants).

I watched as the younger professionals nodded in absolute agreement, and veteran human resources management folks cringed at the idea that they had a responsibility to better interact with applicants, i.e. social media, responsive email, or just being responsive with new applicants at all.

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How simple would it be to include a thank you acknowledgment email, and then listing community resources to local job boards, job re-training opportunities, or even promoting their own HR blog that suggests what the company is looking for in a resume, best practices for job hunting, and so much more… oh the horror! You’d have thought I set the building on fire and locked the door! But having said that, many were inspired enough to speak with me afterwards for more ideas, and application of some of the social implementation, and how to integrate the same relationship with currently employed team members – I had hope.

Fast forward to today, and guess what?

Well, the human resource departments got new systems alright – they can now completely disenfranchise applicants online now. “Online Application” is now the online file 13, and hey, many managed to ignore even the common courtesy of letting the applicant know that an application was even received. And of course, there will be no help with any glitches the applicant may run into such as, your social security number is invalid, say what?

They even found newer ways to aggravate the applicant by defaulting applicants into “sell your information” companies like snagajob.com where your information is sent to participating online ‘Universities’ that endlessly call without warning. Watch out for companies like Kohl’s in particular. Now you’re making money while ignoring applicants?

Consider this analogy

Here’s the analogy I gave HRMA in my presentation: I’m a young kid, who on Friday nights curls up with mom, dad, and family with popcorn and Coca-Cola. This weekly treat as a kid was epic, and I love Coca-Cola. As a child, I thought that one day I might like to work for this magical company – their commercials were so appealing, especially at Christmas. Needless to say, this memory made me a huge fan of Coca-Cola growing up. Fast forward to applying for a job with Coca-Cola (this never happened, but stick with me) where I apply either on paper or online, and I’m ignored, not unqualified, just ignored.

I apply again in 60 days. Same thing, file 13 and so on and so forth – I now bleeping hate you Coca-Cola, crushed fan, even worse, ignored. Do you know how much effort and dollars advertising and marketing spent to make me a fan over all of those years, and this is how it ends? Bleep you, I’ll have tea.

This applies to all companies, so here’s the answer

This could be said of nearly any company out there that does not understand that this is a tandem endeavor throughout the company to attract brand fans whose point of final sale might just be with your brand’s HR department. This has to change. You must do better.

My son is on month two of his job search, and the most response he’s received was from those who wanted his money and his information for that ridiculous company, snagajob.com. Thank you Kohl’s and so many other stupid decision makers in human resources.

Every CEO should immediately do three things –

(1) Have their HR director read this in front of you and watch their reaction – nodding in agreement and you’re fine, but an annoyed director means you’re in trouble.

(2) I think every CEO should force their HR director to job hunt for the type of job they are hiring for, especially if it is entry level, for two weeks of unpaid leave just to experience how it would feel should they be “unemployed.” Seriously.

(3) When hiring an HR Director, ask how long they’ve been on the job hunt, where have other HR departments FAILED, and how they propose to do their lion share of making sure your company isn’t leaking talent and fans to file 13 in those same ways.

P.S. Still Loving Coca-Cola over here.
P.P.S. Use Snagajob and other sites at your own risk.
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Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

Business News

Removing remote work options creates a new caste system

(BUSINESS) Remote work has created a democratization of sorts in the workforce, and companies desperate to nix the options could take a hit.

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remote work

Many companies are mandating a return to the office after over a year of allowing employees to work remotely, and, according to a recent study, over half of workers surveyed say they won’t stand for it. As remote work becomes more normalized for all levels of employment, it is crucial that employers retain the option for employees to work in this capacity wherever possible – even if it means employing nontraditional methods.

Harvard Business Review references something called “the democratizing effect of remote work” – the great equalizing that took place during stay-at-home orders nationwide.

In short, this philosophy entails workers having their needs met while continuing to fulfill their contracts of employment. Theoretically, this is a win-win situation.

But employers have their own predilections toward in-house operations, with remote flexibility often being reserved for the highest-ranking officials while “lower” employees are expected to commute. It’s a business model with which we’re exceptionally familiar; why change?

The answer to that question may be employee-driven, as many employees cite a preference for hybrid or remote work environments post-pandemic. “Employees are leaving workplaces that don’t suit their needs anymore,” cites HBR.

Many of those needs are emotional, too. Non-white employees and female employees face a higher level of discrimination in the workplace than their white and/or male counterparts; Black employees, in particular, reported stressful work conditions, with HBR citing that only three percent of Black employees demonstrated an interest in returning to an in-office environment (as opposed to 21 percent of white employees).

Allowing stressed and oppressed employees to work from home can improve their mental health, stress levels, and even their “feelings of belonging at their organization” in the case of Black employees.

Outside of race and gender, the publication also stresses the negative effects that mandating a return after allowing for remote work will have: “Creating a new caste system where elites have anywhere jobs and non-elites are shackled to the office full time is a recipe for high attrition among employees who often have a lot of firm-specific knowledge that is valuable to their employers.”

The less-subtle breakdown is this: If companies that are capable of offering remote work want to retain employees, they need to offer some remote options.

We saw the effects of employees in frontline occupations refusing to show up to work because of poor wages and working conditions earlier this year. It isn’t outside of the realm of feasibility to expect the next major workforce shortage to impact corporations as well.

If the solution is as simple as letting employees work from home a few days per week or permanently (especially if their productivity doesn’t suffer), that’s a pretty small price to pay for continued prosperity.

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Business News

The case for nixing your company happy hour forever

(BUSINESS) Happy hour is designed to bond teams and offer a perk, but the design is outdated to benefit few workers – let’s just get rid of the practice.

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happy hour person drinking

The world of work has forever changed from the pandemic. Melinda Gates hopes that COVID-19 makes society get serious about gender equality. Some people are wondering how many people really want to return to the office at all. There are questions about providing customer service, not to reduce costs to the business, but because shoppers don’t want help in the store.

Let’s tackle another tradition in the office – the happy hour. Wondering if employees really want happy hours? Do they even help?

Why do we even have happy hour?

Happy hour is a tradition that dates back to the early 20th century and the United States Navy. It was originally a weekly entertainment created to alleviate boredom on the U.S.S. Arkansas when sailors were at sea. The practice became popular in the Navy, but over time, the emphasis changed from entertainment to drinking. As drinking became less stigmatized after prohibition, employees began drinking at work and after work. Although happy hours declined in the 1970s and beyond, there was a resurgence in the 2000s.

Why do offices hold happy hour?

Hosting a happy hour is thought to help a team develop positive relationships and encourage employee engagement and productivity. Drink o’clock can be a time of celebration to help employees feel good about the work they’re doing.

Employees can interact with each other outside of the stress of work. It sounds pretty innocent, just getting together at the end of the workday at a local pub or bar, but it comes with a lot of issues.

Is it time to nix the work happy hour?

Happy hour can come with a lot of pressure for employees. Some people believe they have to attend in order to keep moving up in the job, because skipping out can be seen as not being a team player, and many who don’t show up to the “optional” happy hours are also the ones who didn’t get to schmooze with the bosses and thereby are not the ones who get promotions.

This disproportionately hurts women, who typically still have the majority of caregiving tasks in the family and can’t stay out drinking on weeknights.

Transportation issues or flexible schedules don’t lend themselves well to the traditional happy hour after work. And don’t forget the drinking atmosphere doesn’t appeal to everyone. There are many religious, cultural, and personal reasons for people to avoid alcohol, bars, and happy hour functions.

This doesn’t even scratch the surface of liability issues for employers. Can your business risk an accident by an employee who went to happy hour and was a little buzzed when they left?

While we’re rethinking workplace traditions in the post-pandemic era, let’s think about how to get employees engaged. Maybe this outdated practice isn’t the best way to build your team anymore.

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Business News

You absolutely don’t need to be a 100% match for a job to apply

(CAREER) Most people believe they should only apply for their dream job if they’re a perfect match, but studies say that’s the wrong approach.

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apply for a job even if not 100% a match

You don’t need to be a 100 percent match for a job to apply. You just don’t.

We’ve all seen the crazy job postings:

-Must be fluent in Mandarin
-Must be be full-stack coder
-Must also have real estate license
-Must be a rockstar ninja (uuugh)

After seeing endless open positions with specific requirements, it’s no wonder that so many job seekers become discouraged. How can anyone fit 100 percent of the requirements on the job listing? And actually, most people don’t. According to a recent study, you only need to meet ~70 percent of the job requirements to be a good fit for a job.

So you’re telling me a requirement isn’t actually a requirement?!

The study analyzed job postings and resumes for over 6,000 positions across 118 industries, and they found that applicants are just as likely to get an interview whether you meet 50 percent or 90 percent of the requirements.

Crazy, I know. That law of diminishing returns will eff you up.

But what about women? I wondered the same thing. Surprisingly, the interview data was in favor of women that meet less of the requirements. In fact, the study shows that as a female, the likelihood of getting an interview increases if you simply meet 30 percent of the requirements. Also, female applicants are just as likely to get an interview if they meet 40 percent versus 90 percent of the job requirements.

Before you start complaining that women have it better in the job search process, correlation doesn’t equal causation.

Interestingly enough, 64 percent of the female users rejected at least one job where they matched 50 – 60 percent of the requirements, while only 37 percent of male users did. This leads us to believe there more implicit factors to take into consideration, like imposter syndrome throughout the interview process.

If you’re a recruiter or employer, this may seem like more work. But in an increasingly competitive job market for both employers and applicants, this presents an opportunity to get to know people for who they actually are, not just on paper. And resumes often do a poor job of reflecting that — especially the ever-important soft skills.

Key takeaways:

As we’ve gone through this study, here are a few practical action items for job seekers:

1. Apply for a lot of jobs to increase your number of interviews.

The study shows that increased interviews are a direct result of increased applications, not just picking and choosing what you think you’re a good fit for. Which brings us to our next point:

2. Go for those “stretch” roles — you never know what may come of it!

Send in a lot of applications, but don’t let that stop you from approaching the process thoughtfully. Recruiters can tell if you’ve skimped on the cover letter or your resume, and a thoughtful approach to the application process will be noticed and appreciated by recruiters, especially for those reach roles.

3. Don’t second-guess yourself.

We’re always our own worst critics, and according to this, we don’t need to be — especially throughout the job application process. Job hunting is stressful enough, so put on your most upbeat playlist (or Beyonce), say your affirmations, and go on with your bad self and start applying!

This story was first published here in December 2018.

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