VIDEO: What's Wrong with the Assessment Platform You're Using Today?

I had the chance to appear on the HireVue “Weird Science” Series as week, with Fistful's Tim Sackett pinging me on assessments and the data/insight they give you around hiring the right candidate for your company.

Listen to Tim and I talk about the science behind assessments and how to implement them with your team to get the greatest return on your investment (email subscribers click through for video that appears below)..

My takes in the conversation:

--Assessments that take over 25 minutes to complete kill the candidate experience.

--If you give a hiring manager a 10-page report, you'll guarentee they read none of it.

--If you want real ROI with assessments, do something with them once a candidate is onboarded into your company...

Enjoy!  I'm especially proud of the freeze fame picture they gave me below as a placeholder to the video....

STUDY: Engagement Down, But Retention is Relatively Stable?

Quantum Workplace reports that despite an improving economy, the US workplace dipped to an employee engagement low - an eight-year low for that matter.  You can get all the details in the Quantum Workplace 2015 Employee Engagement Trends Report.

What's interesting about the report is that while employee engagement is down, employees’ feelings on remaining at their employers have remained relatively stable. While the majority of retention-related items trended down, 76.1 percent of employees said it would take a lot to get them to leave their employer, which was a 0.23 percent improvement from the previous year when engagement was higher.

What the hell does that mean?  First, I think retention rates probably trail engagement levels, meaning that I would expect to see relative retention drop (turnover rises) in the quarters trailing this type of low tide in employee engagement.

Second, I think it's probably an opportunity, right?  If looks like the axiom "do more with less" continues to be the reality – with employees less engaged but more willing to tolerate it based on stable retention rates.  

I'm going to go "glass half full" and say that simply means there's never been a better time to to zig - while others zag - and invest in your workplace culture and climate.  This study shows there's never been a better time for that investment.

Get the full infographic from the study by clicking here.

CHART ART: This Picture Says If You Want a Good Raise, Get Another Job...

Take a look at this one:

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 11.57.06 AM

The analysis that I have on this one is pretty simple.  Look at the chart and you can only come to one conclusion - broadly, there is no such thing as "pay for performance".  For supervisors or normal worker alike. Interesting to see that worker pay spiked post-recession but managers continued to decline.  But I digress.

For the most part, employees have to change companies to get a big raise.  That remains true.

How much of a raise does it take to steal someone out of your company?  That depends how bad your company is or how shitty your managers are, right?

My rules of thumb for how candidates change jobs:

0% increase - candidates only change if they're desperate.

5% increase - you can get average candidates to change jobs for this amount if they're disengaged.

10% increase - where the bidding starts to get a happy productive employee to change jobs.

20% increase - gold standard for what it takes to rip a happy, productive worker out of a company and a job.

Happy hunting out there.  Look at the chart and you should be encouraged.  On the recruiting side of the house at least - the retention side?  That's another story...

Believe This? Poor Performing Employees Use Internet Explorer...

It's a mantra that's right up there with "Choosy Mothers Choose JIF".

Except it sounds like this: "Poor Performing Employees Use Internet Explorer".  

I know what you're thinking.  This is complete BS.  YOU, after all use IE, even though you've spiffed up and are now on IE4.  And yes, we know your IT function has you on complete lockdown.  So many objections, so little focus on performance.  

Would you believe an HR vendor actually has data to back this up?  Come on in here, Cornerstone On Demand, and DEFEND YOURSELF. More from The Atlantic: Ie

Cornerstone OnDemand, a company that sells software that helps employers recruit and retain workers, analyzed data on about 50,000 people who took its 45-minute online job assessment (which is like a thorough personality test) and then were successfully hired at a firm using its software. These candidates ended up working customer-service and sales jobs for companies in industries such as telecommunications, retail, and hospitality.

Cornerstone’s researchers found that people who took the test on a non-default browser, such as Firefox or Chrome, ended up staying at their jobs about 15 percent longer than those who stuck with Safari or Internet Explorer. They performed better on the job as well. (These statistics were roughly the same for both Mac and PC users.)

Michael Housman, the chief analytics officer at Cornerstone, said that while the company’s research hasn’t identified anything to suggest causality, he does have a theory as to why this correlation exists. “I think that the fact that you took the time to install Firefox on your computer shows us something about you. It shows that you’re someone who is an informed consumer,” he told Freakonomics Radio. “You’ve made an active choice to do something that wasn’t default.”

Let the tomato throwing begin in the comments from all the IE loving HR Pros.  

But if you stop thinking about yourself, there's probably some real truth in these findings.  First, Cornerstone took the data from job seekers, not actual employees, so the sample size is limited to that.  Hopefully that gets you off the ledge.  But more importantly is Housman's comment that "I think that the fact that you took the time to install Firefox on your computer shows us something about you. You’ve made an active choice to do something that wasn’t default.”

That's a pretty powerful statement, and while the study stops WAY short of connecting a correlation, I think he's hit the nail on the head.

To take something other than the browser default means you're naturally curious.  You're looking for a better way of doing things.  I'm not surprised there's a bit more retention with this group, because I think they (overall, individual exceptions will occur) will stay engaged for longer periods of time than a normal employee.  They don't need you to engage them - they're already curious enough to be engaged without whatever you're selling.  

On the performance front?  Doing something rather than default is an example of the holy grail - DISCRETIONARY EFFORT.  That's the most powerful thing you can have from a performance perspective, and if this group does it in their own life, you can bet they're going to do it elsewhere.

Use IE and are happy?  It doesn't mean you're a poor performer.  It's not always about you.

Well, yes it is.  Interesting study anyway.  Let it soak in.  There's truth there.

RELATED: My own research shows candidates who own Toyota SUVs, drink Blonde Venti Red Eyes and have a BMI of 22.5 make the highest performing employees.  Of course, that's based on a smaller sample size that what Cornerstone has above...

--Sent from my Google Chrome Browser

Organizational Turnover Paranoia: What Would David Ogilvy Do?

I'm plowing through a book from Advertising giant David Ogilvy called Confessions of an Advertising Man.  Ogilvy was considered the "father of advertising" and a creative genius by many of the biggest global brands. First published in 1963, this book revolutionized the world of advertising and became a bible for the 1960s ad generation and is still considered required reading by many in the ad game.

As you might expect, Ogilvy had some opinions related to the management of people.  One area he dips into is the paranoia that can accompany resignations.  Here's his strategy: David

When a good man quits, his cronies wonder why, and generally suspect that he has been mistreated by management.  Recently I have found a way to prevent this misunderstanding.  When my young copy chief resigned to become Vice Chairman of another agency, he and I exchanged letters in the style of a cabinet minister resigning to a Prime Minster, and they were printed in our staff magazine.  The dear defector wrote to me:

You must accept the blame for what I am as an advertising man.  You invented me and have taught me how much I do not know.  You once said that you should have charged me tuition all these years, and it's true.

I replied in kind:

It has been a grand experience to watch you grow in 11 short years from cub writer to Copy Chief.  You have become one of our best campaign builders.  Your vitality and resilience make it possible for you to remain clam and cheerful - contagiously cheerful - through all the tribulations which buffet copy chiefs.

Now - I'm on the record as HATING long, one-say email missives that someone is leaving the organization.  But getting permission to print an exchange between a manager and departing employee in which the employee acknowledges they have learned much from the experience at your company and the manager says a few nice words?

Gold.  We should do more of this.  It won't fit in every situation, but for voluntary terms where you like the person leaving, it has power.  The power is in the two-way exchange of gratitude.  Ogilvy says nothing about having a heavy heart related to the employee leaving (which can cause panic and strife), he's actually taking credit for GROWING the person in question - and the exiting employee is giving him credit for having done that.

Think like a marketer - even when someone resigns...

Paying Fast Food Workers $15 Per Hour - 4 Capitalist Thoughts...

There's been a lot of press recently about raising the wages for fast food workers to $15 an hour.  If you want a sampling, click here for some quick aggregation via Google....

The move to raise wages in this fashion polarizes the dialog.  Most people generally belong to one of two camps:

1. You're a capitalist.  You think the market decides, and any artificial, non-market related move to raise these wage levels is complete BS, or; Fast times

2. You've got a big heart.  You like the idea and think it needs to happen.  Who pays?  Who cares?  Get it done and let the economic impact fall where it may.

Of course, as with anything, there's a middle ground.  Related to raising the wages of fast food workers to $15 an hour, I don't think it's safe to assume that employers would just pay the money and everything would remain the same.

Things I wonder about include:

1. The employment scene is a marketplace.  If fast food workers are paid $15 per hour, does that mean fast food franchise owners now can hire different people?  If so, that really doesn't help the people we thought we were helping.

2. What do owners get for their bigger investment?  Seems like all the advocacy groups really don't talk about this.  I think they should.

3. What's the impact on turnover?  Cost of turnover studies are notoriously opinion-laded, swag-style guesses.  If turnover doesn't really go down, the change would be a failure.

4. If owners get more productivity, can you staff a location with fewer people?  That's a better way to get to the math.

Like the moderate Republican I am, I'm somewhere in the middle on this debate.  I think the liberals making this call are missing the boat by not attempting to answer some of these questions and frame the argument as such.  I think the pure Capitalists who are refusing to consider and cite the pure market forces are tone-deaf from watching too much Fox News.

The truth is somewhere in the middle.  What business benefits happen with the move to $15 per hour?  Prove the benefits or simply get to break even, and most reasonable people would support.  

Refusing to talk about what business owners get for their money?  Good luck with that stance - I wouldn't want you representing me.

PURE GOLD: When Employees Create T-Shirts That Identify Them as "At Risk"...

"It's always the employees who are brave enough to leave you most want to keep." Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 8.45.24 AM

What about the ones who would wear a tasteful t-shirt stating their intentions/psychological state to their co-workers?

Yeah - I'd probably want to keep them even more... 

But I digress... Got this note from a guy named Brandon Jameson this week:

"My "Flight Risk" T-shirt <> was inspired by the designation of an employee poised to leave a company. I embraced this idea to be worn with confidence by people looking for something better and am looking to share the shirt with a broader audience. I thought there might be a place for it on or another of your online properties."

The t-shirt embedded to the right is the shirt.  Gotta say, that's nice.

Here's more about Brandon:

"I am a graphic designer/art director and one of my primary clients for the past few years is in the HR space. The idea of identifying potential flight risks within a company came up a while ago as a product feature and I liked the idea of someone self-identifying as a flight risk with the T-shirt. It's sort of liberating when you're not sure you're in the right place or convinced you're not using the extent of your talents. It gives hope and confidence that you can find something better, and that may be tomorrow."

Love or hate the idea of your employees wearing something like this, you gotta admit - It's a great idea.

Of course, an HR leader wearing this would be money.  Hit the link above if you're feeling it to order.  No money to me, just liked it enough to share.

Resignation 101: "It Is With a Heavy Heart" Means The Following...

Every seen a resignation come across email that includes the phrase, "It is with a heavy heart"?

Here's what that means:

1. I'm resigning before the posse got to town and took me under custody.

2. This is a forced resignation.  My heart's heavy because I don't want to go.  Damn, why do I have to go?

3.  I'm signaling you, fool!  Someone's pissed me off because I didn't agree with their ethical code and I'm resigning to show them how I feel.  This is a stand about morals and ethics.  Please remember me when I network with you via LinkedIn!

It's with a heavy heart that I write this blog post.  Me?  I like the people who leave a company like Keyser Soze

"After that my guess is that you will never hear from him again. The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist. And like that...<poof>... he is gone."

If you're leaving, don't make a production.  Just go.  Like Keyser Soze.  No drama.

STALE AT WORK: Why Are You Doing That Project Again?

Yesterday I wrote about shelf life and becoming stale in the gig you're in.  

My kid called it "the same old @#$#".  By the way, did some research with Mrs. Capitalist and it appears that our 4 year old at the time was quoting a Nickleback song.  Video below, check out the 3:10 mark.  Good times.  I remember him drumming to the intro of this one in the back seat.  Apparently, we let it roll past the intro a time or two.  Whoops.

Back to the point.  If you're stale in your gig, you've got choices to make.  Every job has transactional/daily stuff that has to be done.  Then, the important moment comes.  You've got some choices to make about what can truly add value related to how you spend the rest of your time.

What projects are you working on?  Why did you choose those projects?  Penelope Truck asks an important question in this post:

"If you have a text-based resume, you need to always think in terms of bullets – is your project leading to a bullet on your resume, and if not, why are you doing it?"

You know you're going through the motions and your shelf life has expired at work when you a) aren't working on any projects, or b) the projects you are working on aren't worth space on your resume.

Want to get out of your rut at work?  Start doing two projects that you would put on your resume.  Odds are that's going to help you reinvent yourself at work and extend your shelf life.

If you can't do that, the problem is you.  Maybe it's the profession and not the job.

It's on you.

Here's How to Use Social Media for Retention Purposes...

I had the pleasure of leading a panel on Monday at the Halogen Software User Conference in Atlanta. Halogen puts on a great conference for the HR pros who use their solution in the field, mixing education and user feedback on their solution with general HR tracks.  They're one of the best in my eyes.

I had a great panel talking about Talent Management issues these HR pros should keep their eyes on in the coming year.  The picture below is our panel, including @CathyMartin @MikeHaberman @Havrilla (Chris), with the hashtag for the conference being #HSUC11.

Halogen blogger panel

And yes, that's the panel holding hands.  That's how we roll.  When I do a panel, I'm like Oprah - except I'm white and can knock down a 15 ft jumper consistently off a baseline screen.  Oprah can't do that - I've seen her play... 

Here's the money question from the crowd yesterday: "How do we use social media to drive retention?"

Me: "Start by making sure your employees have access to social media".  Ha.

To be fair, the person who asked the question was undoubted a user and proponent of social media in her organization.  However, when I asked a show of hands related to how many people were blocking social media in their companies, half the hands went up.

So, if you want retention via social media, start with access for all.  Then promote the hell out of the people who are using it for business and professional purposes.  Transparency!  Even if some smart recruiter like Chris Havrilla will ultimately use that tool to try to steal them from you, that's the way you should go.  Use their work on social media in the right way, and chances are they won't go when they get the call.