All Posts in Recruiting

May 13, 2017 - No Comments!

Learn the Unexpected

There was a fascinating article in the Opinion Section of the Wall Street today that highlights Barbara Oakley,  a Professor at Oakland University, Michigan and her book called Mindshift.  It is a deep dive into the science and practice of learning. Her personal story truly demonstrates a multi-faceted journey in learning.   We place obstacles in our way when confronted with new learning challenges.  I can say that from personal experience.  However, according to Professor Oakley, this holds us back from new outlooks.

I was taken by the notion of learning something new as a workout to the centers of the brain that are most affected by aging.   That was not a new notion but hit home for sure.

What really captivated my imagination was the idea of learning the unexpected. Do we allow ourselves the vulnerability to ask, "Who do we want to become in our work and what needs to be explored in this life?"  Not often enough.  It is consuming to just respond to everyday challenges that are right in front of us let alone think out into what we want for our future self.

I attended a workshop a few weeks ago in San Francisco, facilitated by my favorite corporate poet and philosopher, David Whyte.  He is working with executives to help them be "Half a Shade Braver" (his new topic and CD) and be vulnerable and risk yourself in leadership. That often means surrendering to the unknown and reflecting on key questions that we have inside of us that will patiently wait for us to answer.  Those questions are not going away, says David Whyte.

The mindshift that Professor Oakley speaks of had me reflecting on the workshop with David. The question that I want to ask is, "what parts of me have I not spoken of or developed yet in my work?" What are the possibilities?  It is an exciting time at any age to hold the possibilities in your hands and learn how to learn.

 

Published by: Sherry Benjamins in Employee Engagement, Management, Recruiting, Uncategorized

February 26, 2017 - No Comments!

Redefining Success – meet an MBA student

I had the opportunity to meet an MBA class from the Talent Management program this past week at Pepperdine Malibu campus.  Apparently this is a new one year MBA program within the Graziadio Business School that is focused on talent management.   The students come with experience in HR.  They have an impressive curiosity and point of view around talent and what it takes to engage people today.  They are engaged and enthusiastic about the new world of work.

They are redefining success for themselves and no doubt will challenge the status quo.  That is refreshing.  If you have not met any of the Pepperdine grads - take the time to do so!  Some are unconventional, however, and that is what was exciting.

Professor Jack Gregg asked me to speak to the class and knowing Jack for so many years and respecting his passion for learning, I accepted and really enjoyed the experience.  We discussed the "New Take on Talent" and how that is playing out in work, workers and the workplace of the future.  Specifically I shared perspective and data on engagement and how that is changing with many driving forces in the business and with what talent wants now.   I shared real examples of what we are seeing in progressive organizations and how the employee experience is driving change.

They asked great questions and were energized with our discussion about where new work is happening in the next few years and how they can redefine that for themselves.

Following the presentation several students introduced themselves and expressed interest in internships for the summer.  This is part of the requirement for their graduation.  What a great way to meet new grads with new ideas.   Upon returning to my office later that day (yes, it was a long drive) there were many linkedin requests from the students.  They were personalized and thoughtful.  Congrats to them for using the concept of "tailoring" your message to a new connection.  Check out this program.  More important is to meet an MBA or graduating student who expresses interest in talent and talent managing. They have redefined success and we can all learn from this.

Published by: Sherry Benjamins in Employee Engagement, Recruiting

January 21, 2017 - No Comments!

Changing the Conversation – Women can Do it all not have it all

I read today that Brenda Barnes, former CEO of Sara Lee Corporation and also 22 years at Pepsi, passed away at too young an age.  In 1997, she had the courage to make personal choices that many did not understand at the time and created quite a stir for "resigning corporate America" to spend time with her children and focus on family. It prompted a discussion about whether women can have it all - family and career.

I am hopeful that we are shifting from the "have it all" conversation to "doing it all."  Listening to her daughter on NPR this morning made me think about the doing it all with the support of enlightened leaders and CEO's that get it.  This happens to be a month of hearing from women, men and diverse populations that they care about issues that impact them and this community.

Women need to work and want to do good work as well as care for their family.  Why aren't more companies who say they care about bringing women into their organizations and developing them, stepping up to policies that support them? I know a lot of good things are happening and I plan to ask more about what they are and write about it.

Two observations here:

First, I respect and admire our team here at S. Benjamins & Co.  We are fortunate to have amazing women who have designed blended life styles with family as priority and work (that we are proud of) that is meaningful and making lives better.  They inspire me and they deliver incredible quality work in a flexible yet highly accountable environment.

Second, I had the opportunity to meet the new head of HR, Legal and Finance at Patagonia two weeks ago.  They embrace family in a way I have just not seen and it was incredibly refreshing.  From the day care center to the kitchen in the morning filled with parents and kids before kicking off the day and learning of their family supporting policies, and commitment to the environment, inspired me beyond words.  I learned that 100% of their new mothers return to work because they are supported in such unique ways to be successful.  They believe in family in their words and actions.  A great outcome is their  tremendous passion for their work, succession and loyalty.  They take work life culture to a new level and their commitment to make the world better is serious.

If we want women and men to put family front and center (as I imagine you would want for yourself)  then our practices must change.  What is one step you can take to express your thoughts on this and start a new conversation with senior leaders and listen to what your workers value?

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 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.

August 6, 2016 - No Comments!

Find the One – What Does This Mean?

Don't we all want to work with amazing people? There is plenty of research and real life experience that says investing in who decisions pays off.  Finding the one for your company means achieving success or just getting by.

Enlightened CEO's place the importance of people decisions at the top of their list of important skills to develop and invest in. I grew up as an HR professional at American Hospital Supply (AHSC) - later acquired by Baxter Healthcare.  From the first introduction to the company through thoughtful and interactive interviews, to a well articulated offer and then onboarding, I was fortunate to have a world class experience.  I can say that now. After 20 years plus in the field and working with many companies as we help them find the one, they still struggle with this work and more importantly, in getting the process right.

Joining American at the time felt like joining a family. There was great care and planning on making us feel welcome, immediately connected to resources and people that cared about our success.  Thank you Bob Ruh for inspiring me even with that high bar for performance!  We were always clear on what the responsibilities were and where the challenge could take us.  I was very early in my career and had come from a company that offered little development and almost no conversation about the business.  It taught me to take initiative.  AHSC  prepared me for doing my best work with incredibly talented people.

It is important to find the one.  And, it means getting the first part right and then ensuring that you have all the other parts in place; integrating the one into your culture, developing their skills, stretching them with challenging assignments and having a plan for development.  Oh, and I almost forgot, scheduling conversations with key influencers and your boss about how it is going and what is needed to keep you on track and engaged.

Finding the one means;

  • having regular meaningful conversation with people.  It seems many have lost that focus for there is so little time to commit to this today.  There are way more initiatives on everyone's plate and little time to reflect and care for the ones that contribute.
  • looking at entirely new options for your workforce.  Frankly, the one you want may get more excited about a gig, a project, an experience with  you rather than the full time position you have posted.  John Boudreau masterfully talks about these options in his book, Lead the Work. To continue to find the one, we now have to look at other ways for our talent to contribute.

This future of work offers a huge upside to individual workers and their leaders.  Think about it; we see how younger professionals, mid-life or late stage careerists are taking on what they want, when they want it and where they want it. Let's get over the old model of employment and think more about what "the one" defines for themselves.  You will be surprised how committed and aligned those workers will be if we ask, listen, share perspectives and help each other grow.

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

 

January 10, 2016 - No Comments!

Entrepreneurs are Paranoid – A New Year View

It always happens in January.  We start a new year and budget for 2016 and even though we are in our 19th year of successful business, I remain paranoid.  In the past it was stronger for me in the first quarter than other times of the year.  My husband says I do this every year and should not worry.  Last year we had our best year since 2008.  Actually I am proud to say that my level of paranoia is quite diminished relative to other years and we did celebrate proudly at the close of the year.

As business owners it is totally natural to be suspicious or fearful of starting a new year with a steep ramp for projects and not knowing what is ahead.  What we do know is that employment is up and more jobs are being filled than expected.  We also know that these emotions feed our desire to succeed, try new things and be innovative.  Yes, that is a win win for us worry warts. So, why am I paranoid?

Aside from reading the business section today proclaiming gloom and a "bad week for stocks which dims 2016 outlook,"  which I am trying to ignore, there is still that uncertainty on how our work will play out this year.  The business climate is good, however, I see our clients managing intense amounts of work, stressed at times and resource constrained.  Then, I remember what my dear friend and respected Professor, Jeremy Hunter, at the Drucker Institute says, "manage moment to moment and with intention."  My intention this year is to enjoy the moments such as when;

  • Colleagues and friends are there for you when you have a problem or a happy moment to share
  • Laughing at myself more
  • Delighted clients with new hires say they appreciate our help or just simply when we help them by listening
  • Candidates thank us for keeping them informed (whether they get the job or not) or call to say they love their job
  • People we care about call for career game plan help
  • HRoundtable  or Great Starts Breakfast conversations transform ideas into action
  • Stephan and I are able to try out new things like Argentine Tango and cycling trips; laugh and learn something newstephand sherry2016

What do you want your meaningful moments to be this year?

Enjoy the adventure of the unknown and if you also get paranoid, don't worry, it is natural and may contribute to your success this year in entirely surprising ways.  Happy 2016.

 

Published by: admin in Recruiting, Talent Economy
Tags: , , ,