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November 5, 2016 - No Comments!

Candidate Experience or Courtesy for 2017?

Forbes recently posted top workforce trends for 2017.  I was delighted to see at the top of the list that companies are focused on strengthening their candidate and employee experience.  There are several ideas around this that make it so powerful and relevant.

First, a great candidate experience means first understanding the power of common courtesy.  Being respectful of others matters for it reflects on who you are as a person and how your company brand is experienced. Our candidates tell us stories of prior interview experiences that make your hair curl and yes, we need more leaders to learn about being respectful of others.

Second, a great experience also means reducing the candidate's efforts to obtain feedback that matters to them.  I am not saying that we need to give everyone all of the granular data but where is common courtesy in this step?  We have heard stories where someone might be a contender for a cool role, interview, return for many discussions and then never hear what happened in the end, assuming there was an end to the process.  This happens to external partners of the company as well.  What gets in the way of closing loops?  I know everyone is very busy but it matters in building real connections that do result in good business.  Just like Zappos ability to connect to customers, track their questions, address challenges, every step of that journey is intended to be pleasant and respectful.

Third, relationships matter to your business.  These are relationships with candidates, parents of candidates, service providers that know candidates and it goes on from there.  You may not see a need for that candidate today or that service provider, but most likely you will tomorrow or next year.

How often are we creating experiences that connect everyone to what your desired intention is? Posting a job is one thing but offering an experience that turns the whole process upside down to say, "share your skills and passions with us, we wantEMM to know you" even though we don't have a job now, we want to know who you are, is powerful.  By seeking connections, there is a longer lasting benefit to everyone.  A great experience means a lot to those you want to work with, fans, loyal employees and even appreciative  partners."

Last thought:  A week ago I met Matthew Emerzian,  the founder of Every Monday Matters. He created a not-for-profit organization committed to creating a new normal where individuals and organizations understand how much and why they matter.  His book and education programs are taking off.  He captivated a room of business leaders looking to bring "purpose" into their culture.  Matthew said, "we have lost our ability to engage with each other."  He shared such a simple and powerful message that we all matter and can change from the inside out.   Let's look at both candidate experience and courtesy.

September 17, 2016 - No Comments!

Get Over it – New Workforce “Rules”

Are we over it yet?  Half of the workers in  your organizations will be under 30 and by 2025, everyone under 25 will be a digital native.  They grew up with all things tech. Innovation inside our companies will come from the digital natives.  So, why are we hanging on to old structures and ways of thinking about work?  Do we have leaders who just don't see this coming or chose to stick to models they grew up in?

It was great to see an LA Business Journal article last week about nontraditional work in LA.  There is an astounding number of workers who are self employed and data shows it is one in five or upward of one million people in this county.  They work in non-traditional jobs and are part of the underground cash economy.  They rule and love the entrepreneurial life.

There is a concentration in entertainment and creative however, this trend is spilling over into other sectors.  We are about 50% higher with number of self employed compared to other states in the country.   We are on a "fast - forward" when it comes to contingent workers, says, Manuel Pastor, professor of sociology and American studies at USC.

Remember our story about the creative economy that Otis College of Art and Design created?  Their 2015 report spoke about 166,000 non-employee arrangements and now we see that number increasing rapidly.   The government agencies will eventually have to deal with this new reality. It is not going away anytime soon.

Great talent is all over this -they don't need the structures of legacy systems.  They want to work in collaborative networks where skills matter.  Our clients are willing to pay for the skills they need, however, they are still hanging on to old models.  Now, we just need our Hiring Managers to get over it and think more about work, the plan to get things done, how to use technology and ensure that everyone understands the respected cultures in their network.  I know that is not easy.

What are the skills that will allow us to let go of controls that used to work but don't now?

  • Empathy - what do you want for the future and ask your workers what they value.
  • Anticipate Future - get the big picture and translate that into quarterly deliverables and ideal resources with options.
  • Match Maker - willing to look at the match up of resource and need in a variety of scenarios and factor in the cost of speedy or slow solution.
  • Piloting ideas - be okay with trying out an idea or new work arrangement. Tell others you are testing out feasibility and criteria for success.

Let's open up the conversations so that we can get over it and move forward.

August 23, 2016 - No Comments!

A World of Music & Meeting Points

hollywood bowlThe Hollywood Bowl is one of our favorite venues in Southern California.  Actually, it rivals most venues due to the magical setting and lovely evening breezes along with the most eclectic and amiable music lovers on the planet.

Sunday night we saw Yo-Yo Ma and his Silk Road band.  The historical silkroad was a series of land and sea trade routes that crisscrossed Eurasia, bringing the exchange of goods and innovations from Japan to the Mediterranean Sea for some 2,000 years, until the 14th century.

Now we have our own silk road and with artistic director Yo-Yo Ma, the Silk Road Ensemble visited California for an amazing and wide-ranging travelogue of music both traditional and new, suggesting a modern-day equivalent to the sort of cultural exchange that the old trade routes in centuries long gone by had experienced.

Has this group made a difference in peace and understanding around the world?  If we read the newspaper it might imply that we have not made a dent.  I agree with Richard Ginell's review in the LA Times.  He said, "This concert was ranked as one of the most fun." The Bowl looked totally sold out, the attendees were diverse, enthusiastic and totally into the music.  It was eclectic, energetic, joyous and memorable for a wonderful hot August night in Los Angeles.

Published by: Sherry Benjamins in Communication, Uncategorized
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August 20, 2016 - No Comments!

Out on a Limb? Are you an Original?

How about rejecting the default in us? Take a chance and get on that limb.  Adam Grant, in his new book, Originals, talks about taking those chances.

Are you exploring whether there is a better option or do you default to what you know? The start is curiosity and seeing things in fresh perspectives.  I know that is hard to do.  The job market is requiring us to reject the default in us.  Taking a role that you thought might be less than what you are skilled for might be scary, or away from the main stream but could result in new perspectives and ultimately new work.  It takes being on that limb for a bit.

Many of my friends are sending their children off to college this week - I hope they seek something new for themselves, something they never expected.  It might be something you never expected as well.

It is emotional letting them fly ( I have been there) and having them try something entirely new every day.  What a great time to be in college or start a business or create a new solution in your work.  Why can't we all do this?  Go out on a limb and create a spot in your weekly staff meeting for a "go out on a limb segment."  You may be surprised how refreshing and fun this is.   Increase your tolerance for what some might call being idealistic or eccentric as Adam Grant reflects on this.

Our son went to Loyola Marymount University for his undergrad work and double majored in Fine Arts and Communication.  We did not expect the art side of the equation and as business owners we have had brief moments of "yikes, he is out on that limb."  However, it has inspired and fed his creative spirit and productivity and ours too in delightfully new ways.

Younger talent will choose to speak up, express ideas and censor themselves less.  We can learn from them, take risks and be proud.

March 5, 2016 - No Comments!

Optimists are the future – Are they Genius?

There is a sense of anxiety in our world today.  Just read the newspaper or try following the political scene for a few days.  It is crazy making.  The financial markets have calmed down for the moment however, there is little confidence that we have a smooth sailing year ahead.  So, is it hard to find the optimists? Maybe. Settling for a pessimist view is not the answer.  Bill Taylor, speaker and author of Mavericks at Work and a new book soon coming out called; Simply Brilliant: How Great Organizations Do Ordinary Things in Extraordinary Ways, talks about a future outlook that sounds promising and "optimistic."  He sees a fierce optimism in companies that are ordinary but blend new ideas, have deep commitment and are resilient in the face of change.  I want to meet those companies and their leaders!  I would like to help them find additional leaders as they grow.  They embrace the positive and not the negative.

There is so much being written about great leaders and those guided by purpose.  Are those leaders defining success so that they stand for something special (as Bill Taylor suggests)?  Yes, they are successful for they have a business, product or service where they think about where they have come from, but re-invent the future with a keen eye moving forward with  a clear line of sight.  They might be genius to achieve that - however, think about the definition of genius as another favorite author of mine, David Whyte, a poet that touches the heart) defines it.  "Genius is something we possess", says David Whyte.

  • "Human genius lies in the geography of the body and its conversation with the world. We have a unique signature and stories from our lineage that have not been fully explored.  Genius is a gift and a possibility that has not yet occurred; it is not a fixed commodity but a conversation to be followed, understood and celebrated."

The optimist continues to believe and has the confidence to create a play book for the future.  I would like to start a new conversation with our clients about hiring for genius.  Let's listen to what the CEO believes tough minded optimism looks like in their company.  The, let's translate that.  It could be, as Bill Taylor reminds us, that optimistic leaders know how to use what they already know but are willing to re-frame it tenaciously for a positive future and not a negative one.

 

February 20, 2016 - No Comments!

Brand is the “Why” of your Business – Candidates Want to Know

This past week we hosted a Great Starts Breakfast, SBCo's learning forum in LA on the topic of "Why Brand Matters."  Our guests were heads of HR, Talent Management leaders and those managing the Talent Acquisition function.  It was a lively discussion about branding, which is one of the most misunderstood concepts in business. What does it mean to create a compelling brand message that lines up with your culture?  Our experience is that messages and experiences on the inside don't always connect to those on the outside for your customers.  We are far better at capturing the hearts and minds of our customers and still struggle with that experience for candidates.

What we are seeing now is the intersection of HR and Marketing.   Here are some definitions from our guest speaker, Krysta Masciale (owner and founder of Big Deal Branding in Los Angeles):

  • Marketing is anyone in the organization who is responsible for creating, maintaining and communicating the brand's message internally and externally.
  • HR is anyone in the organization responsible for attracting, selecting and retaining top talent to carry out the brand promise.Sherryand krysta

We have not seen enough collaboration in these two domains.  That is changing.  There is a need to holistically look at strategy for finding those scarce high performing talents.  Many companies have resorted to hiring a search firm to tackle this work (something that SBCo enjoys doing and has excelled in) AND there must be an expanded focus in this work that ensures greater probability of long term success and candidate fit.

In our session, we explored the realities and misconceptions of “Brand”.  Krysta Masciale reminds us that brand isn’t solely a fancy logo or high tech website. Brand is the “Why” of your business. Why do you exist? Why should customers choose you over a competitor? Why should talent come work for you?

To get to the “Why” piece, you must first define these five things:

1. Values- Identify 4-5. Define meaning for your organization. Claim these values in your daily work.

2. Strengths- Find the sweet spot of what you are good at and acknowledge what your organization is not good at.

3. Goals- Establish a yearly theme. Set quarterly goals. Assess goals and theme regularly.

4. Messages- Clarity and commitment is key here - take the step to clarify two words that describe your organization and commit to those words/message.

5. Ideal Clients- Identify this group so that you can speak to the wants and needs of this group.

When these five steps are done right, profits rise and employees see the "why" to stay, production increases and candidates learn more about new opportunities. These steps can easily be utilized by a Marketer creating the company story or the Recruiter and his or her Marketing/Communications partner to develop the talent story.

In 2016 our firm is committed to expanding this work with our clients in order to create a talent brand and message that ensures ideal candidates see "their wants" in the hiring company.  If they don't see themselves in this picture, then it is probably not for them.  Candidates also want to experience interviews and realistic job previews that reflect the organization and leader values.  Here at SBCo we already focus on that when crafting a "marketing specification"  that is entirely beyond the traditional job description.  Clients value the time and effort we place on getting the story right and asking questions that uncover the "DNA" and culture of a firm as well as the opportunity to contribute in cool ways.  (p.s. we love using micro sites, podcasts and other non-traditional ways to relay the story).

Get started on the "why."  It will make a big difference.  If you need help along the way and are committed to raising the stakes in competing for talent; call us here at S. Benjamins & Company and we will bring our brand strategist and amazing search team into a new conversation.  Let me know your thoughts at Sherry@sbcompany.net and Krysta Masciale at www.bigdealbranding.com

 

February 28, 2015 - No Comments!

A Job or Higher Calling?

The Wall Street Journal published an article this week, "I don't have a Job: I have a Higher Calling."  It was in the February 25th Business & Tech section (love their provocative stories) and it is about employers stepping up to talk about how their company is changing the world.  This is the quest for engaging and attracting talent. Frankly, it is about time we are asking the question "what matters to our employees and what matters to us?"

I understand the perspective this writer takes which is skeptical.  Maybe not everyone is looking for a social cause to align with and that making a decent income can be more important, however, there are other views to consider.  As a recruiter and talking with new grads, entry level employees all the way up to managers and executives, most want to commit to companies that believe good work and doing good pays off.   It can be as simple as that and yes, they need a pay check too.

Meaning and purpose is totally dependent upon what we care about.  It does not mean that everyone who works for that company derives meaning from their work.  I see that workers will commit to a culture that values doing the right thing and that is enough for some.  Others want to make sure they understand there is social capitalism at  play and not just bottom line reactive thinking.

I must commend companies like Juniper Networks and Harley-Davidson Motor who are making the connections between what they do and how it serves us.  Everyone comes with their own set of values and helping to build the bridge and differentiate as an employer should be applauded.  How many times do you read job postings for really cool companies and it sounds like something out of a research text.  Maybe we over-reach for awhile and find the story for each organization that can spark interest and passion while also offering just a great way to work and also pay the bills.

Thank you Wall Street Journal and all those companies out there for offering provocative ideas that in fact, will change the world!

September 22, 2014 - No Comments!

Looking Outside the HR Bubble for Engagement

photo 1

We recently attended the TEDXOrangeCoast event and found ourselves immersed in topics ranging from pancreatic cancer tests to cowboys riding comets (yes, you read that right). The speakers varied from Directors of national initiatives to a 13 year old piano phenom who is still trying to balance homework with her social life. The power of TED productions is that they force you to put yourself in the mindset of innovation outside your professional specialty and beyond your go-to industry articles or blogs.   TEDX events are an incredible phenomenon in which there are literally hundreds of people in one room looking to be inspired, motivated, and frankly, have their minds blown. You won't find that kind of electricity, anticipation, or expectation in an all-hands meeting.

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TED is also unique because it crosses generational, technological,  educational, and organizational boundaries. There are engineers, artists, HR professionals, teachers, coaches, students, and more all listening to and absorbing messages from one source.  Can you imagine the power of reproducing this within your organization?! If you could break down organizational boundaries in a way that left an entire organization mind blown and oozing with curiosity, many would argue you have made it to Human Capital euphoria.

We don't have the answer of how to make that happen, but it is always helpful to step outside of the HR bubble and look at alternate ways to unite, inspire, motivate, or  change a team.

July 19, 2014 - No Comments!

Job Hunting in the Interconnected World

I had the pleasure of speaking this week to a group of 40 senior managers who are in job search mode.  I do this a few times a year and noticed this time, the group was smaller and much more positive about prospects.  They were an impressive experienced group of leaders from Operations to Sales and Marketing as well as HR.  They see the up-swing in the market but they still experience uneven growth in unpredictable places. They all chimed in that the opportunities might be there but the navigation to real conversations with corporate leaders was still illusive and frustrating.  The hiring process remains slow and elongated.   The old style of job search for a specific job is fading away.

Why is this the case? We are in a talent scarce market for those hard to fill, leadership or technically savvy middle or senior managers.  So, we clearly need to fill jobs and they are still posted out there.  However, there is a lot of noise and managers are overwhelmed with work.  We need to look at the network and the art of connecting.  I know we are all on LinkedIn checking out each other.  Who needs a resume today?   Talent is connecting and communicating across platforms and their own network and managers are doing the same thing.   It goes both ways.  It is a transparent and interconnected world.  If one company treats a candidate poorly, then it is shared across multiple or hundreds of connections potentially within minutes.  If Zappos leads the way by creating an Insider program - we all learn about it and comment.  What a novel idea, to create a place where a company can build new fans and leverage the relationship they already have with a huge fan base.

The Wall Street Journal this morning, has a weekend interview column with Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn and COO of PayPal.  He says that "your identity is now constituted by your network. You are your friends, you are your tribe, you are your interactions with colleagues and customers and even your competitors."   He says and I agree that we are no longer in control of our resume.

So, where are the jobs?  The Inc 500 and 5000 CEO's are fueling our economy and soaking up what they must do to attract and engage talent.  Every resource matters to them.  I have had more fascinating conversation in the past six months about how to build a great internal talent attraction system and culture than I can recall.  Yes, there is a steep learning and implementing curve for the small company but they care about getting the right talent and view them as an investment.  The concept of helping employees be "employable" by training and expanding their role is natural and essential  in a smaller company.  You have to wear many hats.

So, what does this mean for the job seeker? Forget the conversation about a "job" or a "title" and start communicating your perspective about business and growing talent.  Share your point of view online and in person - start conversations with business leaders and your job prospects in an entirely new way.  Ask them about their challenges, be curious, share your views and engage them.  Be bold, and give up a narrow view on what your title was  in a former job.  This interconnected world offers so much more information about who we are as leaders and the work we can get involved in.  Start there and you may be surprised to learn of an opportunity where there is a match in interest and in need.  We are in the network age - it is far more interesting and allows us to share our stories and find synergy in more fun ways.  Enjoy!

April 15, 2014 - No Comments!

It’s called Personal Branding For a Reason

What is the first thing you do after you meet a new influencer, co-worker, or industry colleague? Most people start by Googling them, which leads to a LinkedIn profile, then an outdated Twitter (with one post), and maybe an association they add their name to at some point in their career (exceptions to this sequence apply).  A Personal brand is the sum of experience that others have with who you are. Less than 15% of leaders know how to develop their personal brand according to leadership surveys conducted by Forbes. Many of us have witnessed the catastrophe that typically occurs when a leader makes an attempt to develop a brand; they’re likely to unintentionally launch into self-promotion that taint their professional reputations and make their colleagues begin to question their objectives.

The important thing to remember with a personal brand is that you are the only one that can completely manage your brand’s progression (positively or negatively).  The people you do business for/with, the mentors you seek guidance from, the companies you work for- all influence your aptitude to strengthen or aid in weakening your personal brand.

Often, when leaders don’t want to or don’t know how to control their personal brand they let colleagues, office culture, and/or client relationships define their personal brand. Too often a leader ends up being defined as "That guy who works for XYZ Company" and personal characteristics are replaced with organizational characteristics. A leader may actually be tenacious and relatable, but if they let other people and factors (i.e. a recession, company cuts, etc.) define them, the leader could turn into money-driven and intimidating quickly and permanently.  This counters the very premise of a personal brand because you are putting your reputation development in the hands of others. Of course, external factors are important and play large roles in personal development, but you know your ideal types of workplace cultures, the networks you should and would like to belong to, and how you can best support the improvement of others while feeling personally fulfilled.

Authenticity goes the longest way in personal branding. Perfection in an individual is too unattainable and others know it, so don’t strive for the illusion of perfection. Strive for authenticity and a personal brand that you would feel confident endorsing. The majority of people we talk to through our HRoundtable groups and other outlets want to be led by those who are relevant and reachable, but also honest and with strong intentions.  It is easy to get lost in your organization’s brand or the culture that your immerse yourself in daily, but there is power in taking control of how others understand you as a leader.

Are you managing your brand or allowing your organization to direct its path?

Idea spurred by: ForbesPersonal-Brand-Jeff-Bezos

Published by: sbcoadmin in Communication
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