HR Predictions: Rethinking Employee Benefits in 2017

Paid Family Leave

Only a few weeks remain in 2016, and as we look to the next year, there is no denying it’s a truly dynamic time for HR professionals. We work in an environment that is constantly changing and filled with new opportunities to enhance the way we lead and manage our most important asset, our people.

Today, business leaders are faced with a challenge those who have come before them have never encountered – assimilating five different generations into today’s workforce and leading teams comprised of individuals with unique priorities, interests and expectations.

Generation Z is stepping foot into the workforce for the first time, millennials are settling down and starting families, and baby boomers are faced with the responsibility of caring for elderly family members. While the priorities may be different, the theme is the same: when you hire an employee, you employ the whole person, including their family, their health and their interests.

As we look to next year, the major HR trends I see will be surrounding rethinking employee benefits. Retirement benefits were en vogue across workplaces in the 80s, but today, employees are thinking less about the future and more about the now. Their mindset has shifted to how employers can help them maximize their time with family or to pursue individual experiences, as opposed to emphasizing retirement benefits and pensions.

Here’s how we anticipate that mindset shift will affect HR in 2017:

Paid Family Leave

Today, we’re realizing a gap in the family leave laws concerning who is covered and who is paid. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) offers job protection, but it is unpaid and only offered for up to 12 weeks. Currently, only 12 percent of employees (via United States Department of Labor) have access to paid leave, which tends to be offered by technology and financial services companies as well as some businesses located in California and on the east coast.

An emerging trend across organizations that is gaining increased traction is placing more emphasis on paternity and family leave. Millennials who are starting families are pushing employers to acknowledge the importance a father plays in raising and bonding with their child, and on the flipside, Generation X and Baby Boomers are caring for ill family members and require additional leave to support their time away. California was the first state to implement paid family leave, which has also spread to the corporate level. Deloitte is now offering employees up to 16 weeks fully paid of family leave to support range of life events like maternity and paternity leave, elder care and aid for sick family members and partners.

Unlimited Vacation – The Ultimate Flexible Benefit

When surveyed, many employees reveal that a top benefit they look for when considering a role is the amount of vacation offered. Surprisingly, studies have shown that while employees earn 20 days off, the majority only use 16 of those days. Employees today are using a full work week less than they did in 2000, and it’s having a major impact. Work expectations and demanding schedules are causing employees to take less time. As a result, employees miss three notable events a year and only 38 percent of employees feel supported to take time off.

A handful of employers are trying to reverse this trend by offering flexible unlimited vacation opportunities for employees. Unlimited vacation empowers employees to decide what to do with their time off while ensuring that the necessary work is completed and the absence is not damaging. Experts analyzing this trend believe that employees are motivated not to let their peers down or to damage their own career by misusing the benefit. While unlimited vacation is not for every company or environment, look for more organizations to consider this benefit.

Flexible Hours

We’ve all experienced it – sick family members, an unexpected doctor’s appointment, or an emergency home repair. Life happens and employees are looking for employers to be cognizant of responsibilities outside of the office. I can’t recall an interview where I wasn’t asked about our company’s expectations concerning work time commitments and the flexibility we offer. The question for HR is how to encourage flexibility for employees and how to teach managers to embrace flexibility to attract the best talent. Consider implementing work from home or flexible hours policies to help employees balance work and home life.

Freelance Economy

A growing trend that will affect even more businesses in 2017 is the “gig” or freelance economy. Work or “freelance gigs” are being organized into a variety of arrangements that can easily be bid on by a variety of freelance or consulting positions. One out of three millennials currently freelance, and by 2020, the Bureau of Labor predicts that 40 percent of American workers will be independent contractors. In areas of specialized skills, those types of talent are looking for freelance opportunities and organizations will be tasked with offering the same type of flexible arrangements for employees that freelance positions receive.

While many trends are affecting the HR industry, we as leaders have a real opportunity to challenge the status quo to enhance our employees’ experience. How do we disrupt the typical routine? Emerging trends are driving us to look at the employee experience in new ways and to listen to consider our people in everything we do.

About the Author:

Karen Crone is Chief HR Officer at Human Capital Management company Paycor.

If you want to share this article the reference to Karen Crone, Paycor and The HR Tech Weekly® is obligatory.

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Streamlining the Employee Experience with an HCM

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Ah, the “employee experience.”

It’s a popular phrase tossed around by growing businesses. As more candidates are needed for steady growth, small and mid-sized business owners feel the strain to keep a firm grip on compliance while ensuring employees receive efficient and thorough transition into roles, up-to-date information and certifications, performance review procedures and follow-ups, job satisfaction, and so, so much more.

When your company is climbing from 20 to 50 to 100 employees, the need for true Human Resources can easily sneak up on you. Before you know it, you’re rushing to find answers to HR problems you hadn’t considered — and why would you? It’s not your area of expertise. And Google only helps so much…

When you add to the mix that millennials have officially overtaken Generation Xers as the largest generation in the U.S. labor force, organizations are scrambling to find, nurture, and retain top talent — and some demands must be met to preserve millennial employees.

But it’s not all nap-rooms and foosball tables.

As millennials reach professional maturity, they’re looking less for a “fun-zone” and more for a professional “safe-place” — that is to say, a workplace that understands their unique concerns, fears, motivations, and needs.

Organizations focusing on the employee experience are embracing their workforce in ways rarely seen in generations passed, a precedent that will undoubtedly play a much larger role as emerging generations build on this empowered foundation.

However, these same organizations are quickly finding snags along the way. From recruitment processes to off-boarding, ensuring employees receive professional value, satisfaction, and leadership nurturing add heavy workloads to an already hectic schedule.

We recently spoke with Pete Luciano, co-founder of Human Capital Management (HCM) provider Balance Point, about the pains most often discussed with clients about their processes. As Pete puts it, “Employees are your best assets. If the best talent for your organization is hired, trained, and given opportunities to succeed — and even fail productively — you’ll see growth before you know it.”

HCMs offer simple, cost-effective management solutions for these growing problems — but ultimately, the wealth they provide is up to the organization’s unique approach to the software.

Recruitment

Organizations are spending much more on recruiting top talent. Keeping a constant flow of viable candidates is difficult to manage, but an HCM remedies this time-blockage by continuously cataloguing candidates — even if organizations aren’t hiring at that second.

A potential candidate simply navigates to the website, uploads her/his resume, and fills out an application. From the organization’s perspective, managers can perform online applicant searches and track applicants throughout the hiring process.

Onboarding

As Pete says, “using an HCM to automate onboarding processes is administratively more sensible.” In days of yore, HR was responsible for collecting employee information and manually entering it into the organization’s system. With HCM software, the candidates are in control of their own information.

Prior to the start date, W4s, I-9s, employee handbooks, and other documents are accessed and filled out electronically. Giving new-hires access to their own information promotes transparency and trust within the organization — important standards for young people entering the marketplace.

Performance Reviews

Currently undergoing an evolution, performance reviews provide key insight into the successes and coaching necessary to successfully grow employees.

As mentioned in a recent HR Tech Weekly article, “Employees and their managers can work together on creating performance goals annually or bi-annually and track the progress and closure of the same with feedback and ratings as relevant.”

But every organization has a unique approach that speaks directly to their bottom lines.

HCMs automate performance reviews through tiered processes, measuring competency, goals, and the organization’s core values. Of course, HCMs are customizable in this way, giving each organization the opportunity to tailor performance reviews to their specific needs and standards.

HR, Time & Labor Management, Payroll

Giving employees access to their information, documents, pay grades, calendars, and benefits relieves HR of the time it takes to retrieve this information. Because HCMs are known for their simple, user-friendly interface, minimal training is needed to get employees up-to-speed and editing their information when necessary.

Building these workflows individually, without an HCM, takes time and can be cumbersome to navigate. Having everything located in one place makes it much easier for everybody, from leadership to employees, to manage and maintain.

Off-boarding

Employees retire, quit, or are terminated for many different reasons. Exit interviews offer insight into organizations through the lens of an employee who underwent the entire employee experience. Where are improvements needed? What can make the employee experience more appealing for future candidates?

What is done with the information gathered is ultimately up to the organization. However, HCM off-boarding processes ensure the organization gets its property back, terminates benefits, and ensures that nothing falls through the cracks. When it comes to Benefit/ACA reconciliation, people coming and going from the organization’s health insurance can either save or squander funds.

For small and mid-sized businesses looking for efficiency throughout the employee experience, an HCM provides cost-effective solutions to each facet of the employee’s journey while ensuring compliance, simple management, and real-time reporting.


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Customer Support and Millennials: What You Need to Know!

Written by Evan Oeflein | Originally published at AnswerDash 

millennial_cio

Millennials are the future! You’ve likely heard the phrase countless times and for good reason: if businesses learn to treat millennials well now, they can protect that relationship for years to come. Here’s what you need to know about millennials and customer service.

With recent counts hovering around 77 million, millennials make up about one-fourth of the US population and are a rapidly growing segment of the American economy1. Combined, they wield around $2.45 trillion in annual buying power2, which makes them a valuable market and an important customer base for any business. With their substantial importance now and eventual economic dominance, it’s crucial that businesses learn to meet their needs and preferences as much as possible. However, knowing what they want isn’t always easy — they are very different from Baby Boomers and Gen Xers. Knowing these differences is an effective competitive edge.

The key difference when interacting with millennials is primarily in how they expect to be treated and via which channels.

Millennials are extremely self-reliant, with almost 40% of them first checking a company’s FAQ page when they have a question3. If they can’t find an answer there or their needs go unmet, four out of five millennials choose to use social media for customer service instead of through web, phone, or online chat channels4. In fact, when contacting a company, most millennials use Facebook almost twice as often as the second-most used social media, Twitter4. An important side note: nearly 25% of millennials expect to get a response on social media within 10 minutes, which can be a difficult demand to meet for many businesses4. Failing to meet expectations like these can result in unhappy millennial customers and could hurt your business.

So what steps can you take to mitigate potential issues and cater to your millennial customers?

First things first: don’t make them call customer service. Make sure they can find answers on your website as easily as possible. Consider a self-service solution to help them help themselves, so they don’t need to reach out to you with problems or issues in the first place!

To drive this point home, here are a few things millennials would rather do than call a support line and sit on hold:

  • 34% would rather have their teeth cleaned4
  • 32% would rather go shopping on Christmas Eve4
  • 26% would rather go to the DMV4

Second: Bend over backwards for your millennial customers! It’s common practice to be accommodating and helpful with any customer, but 22% of millennials say that one bad experience is enough for them to leave a brand for good5. Just a heads up that this can also include boycotting a service, with nearly a quarter of all millennials saying they would be willing to boycott a company after just one bad experience4! Yikes. And with the rapid growth of e-commerce businesses, it’s not difficult for them to leave you and shop with competition. In many ways, your relationship with them now is tied to the future success of your business: once they find a company and product they like, 80% of Millennials will keep going back6.

Whatever your approach to customer support, understand that  millennials expect to be able to find what they need themselves. If they can’t, they don’t want to spend time waiting around for you to answer them (they’d rather go to the dentist, remember?), so get back to them quickly! They’re expected to eclipse Baby Boomers in spending power by 2018, at $3.39 trillion annually7, and will make up even more of your customer base.

Since 64% of millennials feel greater brand loyalty than their Baby Boomer or Generation X parents 8, they’re more likely to stick around if you give them the support they crave! Millennials are the future and they will remember everything you do for them now.

To learn how you can help your millennial customers help themselves, take a peek at our website self-service eBook “How to help your customers help themselves”.

Sources:

(1) 2014, Millennial Consumer Report, Nielson
(2) 2014, Millennials Drive Social Commerce, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
(3) 2015, State of Service Report, Salesforce Research
(4) 2015, Customer Survey: Results & Analysis, Desk.com
(5) 2015, Millennials Research Study, Aspect
(6) 2010, 8095 Exchange: Millennial Whitepaper, Edelman Digital
(7) 2010, Gen-Y Financial Services Survey, Oracle
(8) 2014, Millennial Brand Loyalty, Adroit Digital

Source: Customer Support and Millennials: What You Need to Know!

High School Graduates Should Embrace Flexibility & Recruiters as They Enter College

Take Heed Millennials it Could be a Bumpy (But Exciting) Ride

It’s summer and, therefore, about 3 million students in America have graduated high school and are making plans for what to do next with their lives. In my family I have a niece that has graduated and so I’ve been giving some thought to the question (if she were to ask me): “Uncle Jason what advice do you have for me as I embark on my next adventures post-High School?”

I have posed this as a hypothetical question given that millennials often come across as having all the answers and so never give even a fleeting thought to ask an elder for advice or counsel about their futures. This thought-process has been going on for many decades, just par for the course.

Looking back I probably had the ‘know it all’ mindset as well. I wish I would have been a little more open to advice from older and wiser folks, things might have went more smoothly for me professionally. I would advise, therefore, to accept guidance from credible people that care about you—you’ll likely be glad you did.

Where does my credibility come from you ask? I am a Gen X guy who believed (almost with a religious zeal) that education was important and the more you had the better off you would be professionally. So, from 1993 until 2010 I embarked on an educational quest to attain a Doctorate in Sociology so I could teach and do research (read: save the world). Boy did I have “Big” plans.

Along the way I earned a B.A., with cum laude honors (Missouri State University), an M.A. with honors (University of Kansas), and a Ph.D. (University of Kansas). Little did I know (or care to pay attention to) the major structural changes occurring in higher education (over the past couple of decades) when I was in the midst of my educational marathon. Namely, one critical trend has been colleges and universities shifting from full-time tenure track to part-time contingent faculty teaching opportunities as a cost-saving measure. The pay and benefits for PT faculty is considerably lower than for FT faculty–and obviously this has had a major impact on recently minted Ph.D’s.

In 1969, 22% of the faculty were non-tenure track and 78% were tenure-track positions. Today, those numbers have flipped–33.5% of positions are tenure-track and 66.5% are non-tenure track/ineligible for tenure. Of course higher education is just one of many professions that has seen considerable change over the past several decades, but as a student it would have been smart for me to research the field more to know exactly what I was getting in to.

It is against this backdrop that I decided to make a major career change at 38 years of age. This certainly wasn’t what I planned when I was in my 20’s. Therefore, I think these life experiences qualify me to say a few words on the topic. Also, for more than a decade I was employed at three or four institutions of higher learning… so I’m keenly aware of some of the potential pitfalls of higher education.

So, even though no one I know that has graduated in 2016 has asked, I’m still going to take this opportunity to provide young people some advice that I think they should hear. Words to the wise I wish someone would have told me when I was 18 and heading off to college at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri.

Perhaps the easiest way to organize my thoughts is around a series of “Lies, Damned lies, and Statistics” (thanks Mark Twain) that we routinely tell our young people as they are growing up that can have negative consequences. At the end I will also pose a to-do-list of how to avoid the pitfalls that trap so many of us. As will be shown, having a recruiter on your side could serve as a real life-saver.

The truth is that millennials have been lied to in a myriad of ways so let me be your “friend at the factory” as Dr. Phil says.

The Lies

“You can be whatever you want when you grow up”

This is a classic lie that when I was growing up in the 1970’s/80’s was told over and over again ad nauseam. From the get go this doesn’t even make logical sense—even though I know it sounds great when saying it to our kids. The primary problem with this line of bull is there clearly aren’t enough “good jobs” to go around and so someone has to do the less desirable jobs (of which there are plenty).

Furthermore, it’s just a fact that some people aren’t cut out for (or have the ability to do) “the most desirable” “highest paying jobs.” You have to work with the hand you are dealt.  Some of us get a pair of Aces but most of us get a 4 and 8 off suit.

What’s more, there are approximately 12 million people who work full-time in the U.S. and the reality is an overwhelming majority (easily 3 out of 4) do not like their jobs. Several studies have indicated upwards of 70% “Hate” their jobs.

According to a recent article on salary.com, in 2015, 42% of people indicated that if they somehow became instant millionaires they’d be at the office the next day. I must call BS on this as well, and say that number is likely closer to 10%. Also noteworthy was 73% of respondents in the salary.com survey said they work “primarily for a paycheck”. This clearly supersedes all of the other ‘pie in the sky’ reasons we like to think people work: to be fulfilled, to give back to the community, to feel like I make a difference and so on.

What would be more appropriate would be to say, “Work like hell to attain highly sought after skills, abilities, and aptitudes and then be cautiously optimistic that you will reach your goals and dreams.” In other words, have a few ‘fallback’s’ ready to go in-case things beyond your control happen (and they do ALL of the time). This is also a great opportunity to seek out a professional recruiter so they can help you figure out the best career path for you.

“It’s more important to love what you do than worry about how much money you will make”

This one is a real heart-breaker for me because, as a sociologist, I told myself this lie a LOT over the years as I plowed along getting paid next to nothing to educate our youth. It’s ridiculous. If you don’t make a decent enough wage to meet your basic needs AND then have a little left over for fun and to save for the future you WILL be miserable, period. I will concur that money doesn’t = happiness. However, in order to do 90% of what you want to do in American society, it takes money. Plenty of people in America (believe me) don’t LOVE their jobs but LOVE cashing those checks if they are lucky enough to make a high salary.

“Your professional success directly correlates to how hard you work”

In other words, the harder you work the more likely your chances at professional success (and the less you work… yada yada). Oh my I could write a whole book on this lie (and maybe someday I will) – but suffice to say this part of the “American Dream” is completely dead for many people. There are millions in our country that work their asses off and get paid barely enough to survive and have a decent standard of living (and most of us are forced to work 2-3 jobs just to keep our heads above water). Since the early 1970’s the data clearly show that a gigantic majority of Americans are working harder (many more hours and increasing their productivity) for less and less pay. Millennials: be prepared to work your ass off and it *may* not translate into professional success. Sorry, that is the truth.

The Damned Lies

“Don’t worry about your Student Loan debt because once you graduate you will ‘magically’ have an amazing job that will pay you plenty to pay off those ‘pesky’ loans in no time”

This is truly a damnable lie if I ever heard one. There are many lies rolled into this one, so a little difficult to unravel. For one thing, given how expensive college has become there are a miniscule number of jobs (right out of college) that pay enough to allow a recent graduate to comfortably make their payments on the $40k or more (on average) they owe in student loans. A study in 2012 showed that in the past three decades the cost of a college degree has increased by a whopping 1,120%.  So, the cost of a college education has skyrocketed to the moon and 51% of all American workers make less than $30,000/year. What could go wrong here?

Furthermore, it’s astonishing to learn about America’s student loan debt, namely how completely out of control it is. My prediction is Student Loans are the next ‘housing bubble’. Estimates are that over $1.35 trillion is owed by current and former students and rising every day. Let me write out that number so you can let it sink in properly: $1,350,000,000,000. In by-gone eras where tuition was reasonable and wages steadily went up for *everyone* student loans were not a problem. This game has totally changed and young people need to go into college knowing the risks and potential rewards.

“The degree or degrees you earn from America’s ‘esteemed’ institutions of higher learning will virtually ‘guarantee’ you a ticket into the ‘Middle Class’” 

This one has been dead and buried for several decades now, but somehow often we still believe it (I think because we REALLY want it to be true). The facts show that much of the 2008 post-recession job growth has been in low-wage jobs. For those that choose a major where those skills, abilities, and aptitudes are in high demand – there’s a *chance* you can make it into the middle class, but there are NO guarantees.

“Colleges and Universities will provide you with excellent career counseling upon your graduation” 

Absolutely not. The hubris of our institutions of higher learning is such that most are still stuck believing in the stale notion that “You’ll have no problem getting a job because you graduated from our prestigious university” – News flash no one cares anymore about institutional hubris and reputation. Most employers could care less, believe me. You MUST go out and actively promote yourself and get on the networking train (early in the process). While you are deciding what to major in, you might also want to explore recruiting firms and start fostering relationships with these critical folks as soon as possible.

The Statistics

I could provide a treasure chest of anecdotes on how statistics lie like a sidewalk, but for brevity I’ll just point out one that routinely bothers me.

“Even though college costs are completely out of control, college is still worth it” 

The article will inevitably go on and on providing some BS statistics about how ‘in general’ it’s still a good idea. Tell that to the person who has an over-priced degree or degrees and can’t land a decent job to save his/her life. Believe me, they could care less about some dumb ‘longitudinal study’ showing how great college is—no matter what the costs and sacrifices are.

Just because some statistic says that those with an A.A. or B.A. make ‘slightly more’ over their lifetimes than someone without those degrees should NOT make the scam of college magically “worth it.”

What Should you Do?

So, hopefully you haven’t jumped off a cliff at this point and become too depressed. I’ve tried to present the state of affairs in a truthful fashion (based on personal experience and data when it’s available) so you know the rules of the game and what to expect. Now let me put some ‘verbs in my sentences’ and provide a tangible ‘to-do-list’ of things that I wish I had done. Take these seriously and you have a chance to be much happier than the 7 out of 10 people who dislike their jobs.

  • Contact several recruiting firms in your area and try to find a potential match early in your schooling. Do NOT rely on your college/university to provide any assistance in this critical process. Professional recruiters have grown by leaps and bounds over the past couple of decades and can be an absolute life-saver for those trying to navigate the tricky labor market waters.
  • Manage your expectations! Don’t believe the hype about how great your professional life is going to be – understand the realities of the U.S. economy in 2016 and that there are only so many things YOU can control.
  • Work very hard. Be ready to consistently put in maximum effort in the classroom and in your professional pursuits.
  • Do not wrap your ‘happiness’ in what you do for a living. This is so much easier said than done (honestly I still struggle mightily with this one). Seek professional help if you can’t disavow yourself from this notion.
  • While in college explore what types of avocations and other activities you would like to contribute to your community that are NOT work related. It is likely that these pursuits will be where you truly find happiness and fulfillment. In my case I’ve chosen to be a football and basketball official—incredibly rewarding.
  • Base your choice of major/minor not ONLY on what you are passionate about but also where there is the most demand. As much time as you study the things assigned to you by your generally out of touch professors spend a sizable amount of time also studying what the hot jobs are and how you plan to get one of those jobs.
  • Put ‘networking’ as one of your goals/skills as you work toward your degree(s). Be sure you have a LinkedIn profile and be extremely careful about what kinds of ‘social media’ you share with your potential employers.
  • Do a Return on Investment (ROI) analysis in regard to how much risk (student loan debt) you are willing to take on given the salary you *may* earn post-graduation. Be willing to go to a less expensive school (and be proud as hell to do so) knowing that you are making a much sounder financial decision than your peers who are overpaying at vastly overrated schools (that likely have an unhealthy opinion of themselves).
  • When you work during your college years (whether in the summer or during the regular school year) open up an IRA savings account with a trusted financial adviser. I don’t care if you can only afford to contribute $10/month, do it. This will help you learn the power of investing smartly and why it’s so important to save as much money as you can. You will be amazed at how your money can grow—if you have 30+ years to let it grow (and you do).
  • The Economy/Market are fluid and apt to abrupt change (in the supply and demand of labor) – so be ready to be flexible and nimble as you navigate your professional trajectory. Totally disregard the notion that you will spend your entire career at one or two entities. The reality is you will likely be on the move much more frequently.
  • Enjoy your college experience! If you only view it as a ‘means to an end’ for a high paying job you will truly miss out on many of the wonderful aspects of college that have nothing to do with materialism or financial gain. One of my fondest memories of college was being part of (and President my Junior year) of a Co-Ed Service Fraternity (Alpha Phi Omega) at Missouri State (Beta Mu Chapter). It was with this group that I learned the power and satisfaction of doing for others in one’s local community. I still try and carry out this mission at 40. The seed was planted when I was 18.

Conclusion

Congratulations to all 3+ million millennials who graduated in the spring. You should feel proud of your accomplishments and look forward to having a successful professional career. However, it’s crucial to know the game you are getting into and work hard at adapting to changes in the economy and the labor market. The ‘old’ rules just don’t work like they used to. As long as you go in with your eyes wide open you will have a much better chance of navigating successfully around the potholes that are inevitably in your paths.

Featured Service: Student Loan Hero


Source: High School Graduates Should Embrace Flexibility & Recruiters as They Enter College – Crelate

3 Secrets to Make Your Small Business Job Ad Stand Out

Diversity-in-the-Workplace

Small business recruiting is tricky. Somehow, small business owners have to work with very little resources to get good employees in the door. Add to the mix a sea of competitors who are bigger, have larger budgets and likely employ recruitment experts to do their bidding and you’ve found yourself in a small business recruiting dilemma. Without big names and big money, small businesses have to be more creative and strategic with how they write job advertisements.

These three secrets will keep small businesses on the right track when writing job ads.

Secret #1: Job ad is not synonymous with job description

For decades, mind-numbingly detailed job advertisements were just a simple copy of what the official company job description was. Formulating job advertisements that bring in top quality candidates who also fit into your company culture starts with clearly describing the summary of the company in an interesting way — not rambling on about meticulous and, let’s be honest, limiting job “requirements”. What our predecessors failed to see was the power of a customer-centric approach to recruiting. Liz Ryan, CEO of Human Workplace, explains the power behind job ads:

Your job ads reach a lot more people than just folks who might actually apply for the job. They reach people who have job-hunting friends, and they reach your customers and prospective customers too. You’re marketing to the entire community in a job ad, the same way you are in your customer-facing marketing campaigns.

The kind of job ads that will attract quality employees are those that depict what it’s really like to work for you, the company culture, the team atmosphere and the passion that goes into the work you do. Job advertisements are a public representation of your brand, so it should be compelling to read, not exhausting.

  • To do: Save the job description for internal purposes. If you’re bored reading it, chances are so will potential candidates. Start thinking about how you want potential candidates to perceive your brand and try to work that messaging into job ads.

Secret #2: Sell the career, not the job

While a breakdown of the job requirements is a must for guiding the right candidates in your direction, job seekers today are looking for experiences. Gone are the days where job security and compensation were all it took to snag candidates. Those things are still important and should be one element of the job advertisement, but what should be emphasized even more is the potential for career development, advancement and the chance to work on a collaborative, supportive team. A successful job ad should also fulfill these three requirements:

  •      Inspire the right candidates to apply
  •      Improve performance of all recruiting efforts
  •      Build brand awareness and affinity

Interestingly, a recent study done on the psychology of job ad verbiage revealed that, “ads focusing on what employers can provide job seekers — like work autonomy, career advancement and inclusion in major decisions — result in better employee-company matches. And these ads produce larger numbers of more qualified applicants.” The authors explain that these kinds of ads garnered three times as many high-quality applicants as ads focused on what the company needs from the candidate.

  • To do: Avoid long lists of job requirements and instead craft job ad verbiage around what a day in the life of this person would be at your company. Discuss the day-to-day tasks with active language and don’t forget to mention how they can flourish at your small business. Small businesses typically provide more freedom for growth and development than large corporations so tell them that!

Secret #3: Consider all generations in the workforce

In 2015, Millennials surpassed Generation X to become the largest share of the American workforce. While the Silent Generation and Baby Boomers phase out, Gen X becomes the new Baby Boomer and Gen Z gets ready to overtake the Millennials, employers are left with recruiting a multi-generational workforce. The good news: these working generations have more in common than we give them credit for. One of the most important stereotypes to debunk is whether mobile responsive job ads are needed to attract Baby Boomers. Almost half (48%) of Baby Boomers look for job postings on their phones. Keep in mind, they need to be easy to read and easy to follow because although 22% believe they are tech-savvy, HR says only about 6% of the generation understands modern technology.

  • To do: Create job advertisements that attract all generations with the following in mind:
    • Honesty – 35% of employees in every generation value ethics and fairness in leadership as a top trait an employer should have. Show it by mentioning in the job ad how your workplace values fairness
    • Meaningful Work – 30% of Millennials and 27% of Baby Boomers look for an organization that assigns meaningful work.
    • Flexibility – Although flexibility is typically valued most by Millennials (30%), 22% of Baby Boomers still look for flexibility in the organizations they work for.

Small business recruitment might not be a cakewalk, but that’s what experts are here for. These secrets will help small businesses learn how to write effective job ads that are going to catch the attention of the right candidates and ultimately, make your small business successful. For many small companies, job ads are one of the only forms of recruitment they engage in so make it count!

About the Author

Joe Weinlick Headshot for WordPressJoe Weinlick, President of Marketing with Beyond.

Joe is the entrepreneurial marketing leader and brand strategist with a unique mix of strategic, creative, operational, and technical abilities.

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