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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

Keep your company’s operations lean by following these proven strategies

(BUSINESS) Keeping your operations lean means more than saving money, it means accomplishing more in less time.

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keeping operations lean

The past two years have been challenging, not just economically, but also politically and socially as well. While it would be nice to think that things are looking up, in reality, the problems never end. Taking a minimalist approach to your business, AKA keeping it lean, can help you weather the future to be more successful.

Here are some tips to help you trim the fat without putting profits above people.

Automate processes

Artificial intelligence frees up human resources. AI can manage many routine elements of your business, giving your team time to focus on important tasks that can’t be delegated to machines. This challenges your top performers to function at higher levels, which can only benefit your business.

Consider remote working

Whether you rent or own your property, it’s expensive to keep an office open. As we learned in the pandemic, many jobs can be done just as effectively from home as the workplace. Going remote can save you money, even if you help your team outfit their home office for safety and efficiency.

In today’s world, many are opting to completely shutter office doors, but you may be able to save money by using less space or renting out some of your office space.

Review your systems to find the fat

As your business grows (or downsizes), your systems need to change to fit how you work. Are there places where you can save money? If you’re ordering more, you may be able to ask vendors for discounts. Look for ways to bring down costs.

Talk to your team about where their workflow suffers and find solutions. An annual review through your budget with an eye on saving money can help you find those wasted dollars.

Find the balance

Operating lean doesn’t mean just saving money. It can also mean that you look at your time when deciding to pay for services. The point is to be as efficient as possible with your resources and systems, while maintaining customer service and safety. When you operate in a lean way, it sets your business up for success.

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Business News

How to apply to be on a Board of Directors

(BUSINESS) What do you need to think about and explore if you want to apply for a Board of Directors? Here’s a quick rundown of what, why, and when.

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What?
What does a Board of Directors do? Investopedia explains “A board of directors (B of D) is an elected group of individuals that represent shareholders. The board is a governing body that typically meets at regular intervals to set policies for corporate management and oversight. Every public company must have a board of directors. Some private and nonprofit organizations also have a board of directors.”

Why?
It is time to have a diverse representation of thoughts, values and insights from intelligently minded people that can give you the intel you need to move forward – as they don’t have quite the same vested interests as you.

We have become the nation that works like a machine. Day in and day out we are consumed by our work (and have easy access to it with our smartphones). We do volunteer and participate in extra-curricular activities, but it’s possible that many of us have never understood or considered joining a Board of Directors. There’s a new wave of Gen Xers and Millennials that have plenty of years of life and work experience + insights that this might be the time to resurrect (or invigorate) interest.

Harvard Business Review shared a great article about identifying the FIVE key areas you would want to consider growing your knowledge if you want to join a board:

1. Financial – You need to be able to speak in numbers.
2. Strategic – You want to be able to speak to how to be strategic even if you know the numbers.
3. Relational – This is where communication is key – understanding what you want to share with others and what they are sharing with you. This is very different than being on the Operational side of things.
4. Role – You must be able to be clear and add value in your time allotted – and know where you especially add value from your skills, experiences and strengths.
5. Cultural – You must contribute the feeling that Executives can come forward to seek advice even if things aren’t going well and create that culture of collaboration.

As Charlotte Valeur, a Danish-born former investment banker who has chaired three international companies and now leads the UK’s Institute of Directors, says, “We need to help new participants from under-represented groups to develop the confidence of working on boards and to come to know that” – while boardroom capital does take effort to build – “this is not rocket science.

When?
NOW! The time is now for all of us to get involved in helping to create a brighter future for organizations and businesses that we care about (including if they are our own business – you may want to create a Board of Directors).

The Harvard Business Review gave great explanations of the need to diversify those that have been on the Boards to continue to strive to better represent our population as a whole. Are you ready to take on this challenge? We need you.

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Business News

Average age of successful startup founders is 45, but stop stereotyping

(BUSINESS) Our culture glorifies (yet condemns?) startup founders as rich 20-somethings in hoodies, but some are a totally different type.

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startup founders average age is 45

There’s a common misconception that startups are riddled with semi-nerdy, 20-something white dudes who do nothing but sip Nitro Brews and walk around the open office showing off the hoodie they wore yesterday. It turns out that it’s extremely rare that startup offices resemble The Social Network.

However, the academic backdrop for the real social network story (AKA Harvard), produced statistics that will serve to put the aforementioned misconception to rest. According to the Harvard Business Review, the average age of people who founded the highest-growth startups is 45. Say what?! A full-fledged adult?!

In fact, aside from the age category of 60 and over, ages 29 and younger were the smallest group of founders that are responsible for heading the highest-growth startups. I guess you can accomplish a lot when you’re not riding around the office on a scooter all day.

The study also found that older entrepreneurs are more likely to succeed. The probability of extreme startup success rises with age, at least until the late 50s. It was found that work experience plays an important role.

Many will argue, “Well, what about someone like Steve Jobs?” You could easily argue right back that it took Jobs until the age of 52 to create Apple’s most profitable product – the iPhone.

The study continues to answer questions like, why do Venture Capitalist investors bet on young founders? This goes back to the misconception at the start, and there’s a notion that youth is the key for successful entrepreneurship. Wrong.

There is also the idea that younger entrepreneurs are likely working with less financial options, so it may be common for them to take something from a VC at a lower price. As a result, they could be viewed as more of a bargain than older founders.

“The next step for researchers is to explore what exactly explains the advantage of middle-aged founders,” writes Pierre Azoulay, et al. “For example, is it due to greater access to financial resources, deeper social networks, or certain forms of experience? In the meantime, it appears that advancing age is a powerful feature, not a bug, for starting the most successful firms.”

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