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Friday, September 30, 2016

Using Networking as a Business Tool

By Kim Littlefield, Senior Vice President for Keystone Partners

Networking events can always feel a little overwhelming, especially when it seems like everyone is already speaking with someone when you enter the room. It’s important to prepare for these events to ensure that they are fun and that good connections are made. Here are some best practices to get the most out of networking events:

Prior to an event try to find out who will be attending.  Many organizations post a list of attendees on their website. This will give you a sneak preview on the attending industries and companies to help determine appropriate conversation topics. You might recognize a former colleague's name, too.

Arrive early to networking events. Arriving early will provide the opportunity to meet speakers or panelists. It will also give you the chance to breathe and evaluate your surroundings: Scan the room for a place to sit;  map out the restroom and the location of food and drinks. This allows you to act somewhat as a host/hostess giving you another role to play versus just networking.

Make an effort to remember the name of each new person you meet. Making this an ‘assigned task’ makes a big difference. Find ways to repeat the person’s name out loud and in your head. Use their name in conversation when you introduce them to another attendee or when you part ways. Also, try to associate the person with something: For example, does their name rhyme with something? Translate to something? Do they have the same name as someone you already know? Can you make a funny cartoon in your mind picturing the person doing something that relates to their name?  For example, if their last name is VanHattan, you might picture them driving in a van with a big hat on top of it.  Silly?  Maybe, but it works!

Breaking into a conversation. The simplest way to insert yourself into a conversation is to smile, say hello, and introduce yourself. Look for groups of people having fun or larger groups that may have become fragmented. Avoid two people in an intense conversation. If you feel like you are interrupting, you probably are.

Exiting the conversation. To break out of a conversation, it’s always best to be honest.  If you need to “grab a drink” or “use the restroom,” it’s okay to say so, but be sure to do it. Also, simply saying, “It was nice meeting you. I’d like to stay in touch,” and offering your card is a great way to break out. Getting someone’s contact information so you can follow up and have time to meet others is a sign you have successfully interacted and made an impression.

Networking is about building mutually beneficial lasting relationships.  Developing a strong network takes effort—but the benefits are well worth it.

Kim is a senior vice president for Keystone Partners, where she has more than 15 years of experience in talent management and business development. Kim consults with organizations and senior executives on complex career transitions and workforce planning issues, as well as talent development initiatives.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Digital Transformation Starts at the Top

By David Ludlow, Group VP of Solution Management at SAP SuccessFactors

Successful leadership in the digital economy is contingent on how leaders empower the workforce and equip them with data-driven strategies and technologies. For companies to truly take part in the digital economy and transform their business, change has to start at the top. While employees have an important role to play in bringing strategy to life, leadership sets the vision and tone for the digital transformation.

Leaders 2020, a recent study conducted by Oxford Economics and sponsored by SAP SuccessFactors, analyzed how executives are driving digital transformation and identified the characteristics of “Digital Leaders.” Though difficult to define by one action or leadership trait, there is a shared set of identifiable tactics and strategies that these executives embrace to drive success. These executives are better prepared to build a digital workforce, empower employees, encourage collaboration, and drive continuous innovation.

Take action. Don’t expect employees to drive digital alone – they are looking to leaders to create the agenda. This means embracing digital yourself and listening to the rising number of millennial executives who are ready to implement strategic digital initiatives. Leaders 2020 found that only 37 percent of millennial executives feel that senior leadership is using technology to achieve competitive advantage. If leadership isn’t embracing technology and data-driven decision making, how can the workforce be expected to?

As leaders embrace digital, this vision needs to be shared across the organization to engage employees—58 percent of Digital Leaders are making their decisions transparent to the people affected by them. Implement and communicate a strategy for how the workforce can leverage technology to drive new and better business processes, eliminate manual tasks, and inspire innovation.

Encourage rapid decision making in the moment. Digital leaders empower employees by giving them the tools and insights to drive rapid decision making without the bottleneck of managerial approval. This approach is critical to creating an agile business environment and engaged workforce. Leaders 2020 revealed that 62 percent of digital leaders are making decisions in real-time, and 62 percent also state that decision-making is distributed across the organization (compared to only 41 percent of other executives surveyed.)

When employees are empowered to make fast decisions, they’re inspired to challenge the status quo and achieve business agility, which leads to more satisfied employees. In fact, 87 percent of digital leaders say they recognize and reward people who make process improvement challenges. By showing confidence in employees, digital leaders also create a more engaged workforce and help attract and retain top talent. Digital leaders invest in their employees and  give them the tools to succeed. In turn, these employees will go the extra mile beyond their job requirements.

Encourage collaboration to drive continuous innovation. The pace of change in the digital economy is not slowing down, so neither can the pace of business. Leaders 2020 revealed that barely half of executives surveyed say their senior leadership is highly proficient at using technology to achieve competitive advantage and facilitate innovation and collaboration.

Digital leaders, however, implement technology to facilitate collaboration, motivate employees, and create a dynamic business culture. They are creating fast-paced, productive work environments and responding to change quickly – 63 percent are capable of adapting to decisions made in real-time, compared to only 47 percent of other executives. Deploying human capital management (HCM) solutions that encourage collaboration is critical to helping employees adapt to change, create competitive advantage, and drive innovation.

Navigating the digital transformation is about more than deploying technology—it’s about creating a culture of innovation, cultivating employee engagement, and mastering business agility. Each incremental investment in digital must to be part of overall strategy, not just getting the latest technology for employees. Strong leadership in the digital age will inspire your workforce and yield significant business results.

To learn more insights from the Leaders 2020 study by Oxford Economics and SAP SuccessFactors, click here.

Regular Habits of Effective New Managers

By Rob Cahill, Co-Founder & CEO of Jhana.

Whether newly promoted or hired externally, brand new managers are going through one of the most exciting—and most challenging—transitions of any upward career trajectory.

Drawing from my company’s research and conversations with HR teams and new managers—and also speaking from personal experience— I’ve put together a list of 10 habits that new managers often struggle to build. Not coincidentally, they’re also critical for new managers to get right.

1.     Hold regular 1-on-1s.  You can’t know what’s going on with your team unless you talk to them. No matter how busy your calendar, schedule 30 minutes of face time every week with each team member. Never cancel.

2.     Give and request regular feedback. No one can work in a vacuum—not you, and not your team. Make sure you are giving each member of your team regular feedback and that most, but not all, of it is positive. Likewise, it’s up to you to solicit feedback on your performance from both your boss and your direct reports.

3.     Proactively manage up. Your boss isn’t a mind reader. If you need help, notice something that needs changing or just want to keep your boss in the loop, it’s on you to speak up.

4.     Clearly define expectations. If someone’s not delivering what you wanted, it likely means that you, the manager, haven’t done a good enough job communicating your expectations. For every project, use specific language to describe what a successful outcome looks like to you, and double check—in writing—that your instructions are clearly understood.

5.     Set fair goals. If possible, ask for your team's input to select and shape goals. They'll be more committed to goals they've contributed to in some way. Once you've set goals, be sure to also define how you'll measure success.
6.     Delegate well. It can be hard to let go, but it’s imperative to your team’s success that you trust them and enable them to do their jobs. Assign tasks, and then oversee, but don’t micromanage.

7.     Don’t shy away from tough conversations. It’s your job as manager to address problems head on, even  and especially when doing so makes you uncomfortable. Waiting will only make things worse.

8.   Own your mistakes. It’s common for new leaders to want to seem invincible. Resist the urge to fight or deny mistakes. Instead, admit your error, and describe what you’re doing to fix the problem and how you will ensure it doesn’t happen again. This advice applies to everyone you work with, not just your manager.

9.    Take hiring seriously. Don’t assume HR will do all the heavy lifting. After all, this person will be a part of your team, so it’s on you to ensure you’re hiring from a diverse, qualified pool of candidates. Don’t rely on your network. Some of my best hires have come from unexpected backgrounds.

10. Embrace your peers. Cultivate strong relationships with different groups and departments. The next time your team needs something quickly from Marta in sales or Jamal in Accounting, the trust you’ve already built will pay off tenfold. 

Rob Cahill founded Jhana in 2011 after personally experiencing how proper management can make or break retention and help reach company goals. Rob's mission is to provide effective and relatable management training that is available around the clock. Today, Jhana's clients have grown to many Fortune 1000's including AOL, Orbitz, CARFAX, Career Builder, Groupon and more. Rob was previously at Sunrun as chief of staff to the founder, helping the company scale from 20 to more than 200 employees. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Slow and Steady: Majority of Employers Globally Anticipate an Increase in Hiring for Q4 2016

42 of 43 countries plan to increase payrolls; strongest hiring prospects reported in India, Japan, Taiwan and the United States

Sept. 13, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Employers intend to increase hiring in 42 of 43 countries and territories through the end of the year, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, released today by ManpowerGroup (NYSE: MAN). Employer hiring confidence remains strong despite uncertainty associated with the slowdown of the global economy, the Brexit vote and continued financial market volatility. Hiring confidence is strongest in India, Japan, Taiwan and the United States, while employers in Brazil, Belgium, Finland, Italy and Switzerland report the weakest hiring plans. Only employers in Brazil expect payrolls to decline in the October-December timeframe.

View complete Q4 2016 survey results:

Of the nearly 59,000 employers interviewed globally, 42 of 43 countries and territories anticipate increasing their staffing levels in Q4 2016. Compared to Q3 2016, hiring prospects strengthen in 23 of 43 countries and territories, are unchanged in nine and decline in 11. Compared with last year at this time, Outlooks improve in 21 countries and territories, weaken in 15 and are unchanged in six.
"The Brexit vote in the UK, along with other recent geopolitical events, has added an additional level of volatility – real or perceived – to the global economic outlook," said Jonas Prising, Chairman & CEO, ManpowerGroup. "Despite this uncertainty, the labor market picture remains cautiously positive, with many EU and Eurozone economies slowly pushing back towards pre-recession levels as well as improving prospects in other key markets like India, Japan and Taiwan."
Global Hiring Plans by Region
  • EMEA: Employers expect staffing levels to increase again in all 25 countries in the EMEA region during the upcoming quarter. The strongest EMEA labor markets are forecast by employers in Ireland (their strongest Outlook since Q2 2007) and Israel, while the weakest Outlooks are reported in Belgium, Finland, Italy and Switzerland. Despite the Brexit decision, the jobs market in the UK remains strong at a national level, though there are signs of hesitancy in several sectors including Finance.
  • Asia Pacific: Employers in all eight Asia Pacific countries and territories expect workforce gains during Q4 2016. Indian employers report the strongest regional and global hiring prospects for the fifth consecutive quarter, while the weakest Asia Pacific labor market is anticipated in China, also for the fifth consecutive quarter.
  • Americas: Employers in nine of the 10 Americas countries expect to increase staffing levels during the next three months. Employers in the United States report the most optimistic hiring prospects in the region, while the weakest hiring activity is forecast by Brazilian employers – the only negative Outlook globally.
To view complete results for the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, visit The next survey will be released on 13 December 2016 to report hiring expectations for Q1 2017. To receive email notifications when the survey is available each quarter, visit

*Data for Portugal is not seasonally adjusted as Portugal only joined the survey in Q3 2016 and does not yet have year-over-year trend data. Seasonal adjustments will be available once 17 quarters of Portuguese data are accumulated.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

How to Start a Candidate Community that Attracts Top Talent

By: Katie Calhoun, Executive Director of Client Services, Seven Step RPO

The better relationships you build with candidates the better chances you have of finding the right people in your prospective talent pool when you need them. One of the best ways to engage candidates and build relationships with them is to provide them with a talent community. If you haven’t started one, now is the time to do so.

What is a talent community? When someone visits your career site and is invited to sign up to receive communications from your company, they are being invited into your talent community. This lets you track potentially interested candidates and provide opportunities for them to learn more about your company. It also keeps your employment brand front and center so that when candidates are ready, they will apply to a job. (Just to be clear, this is not a social community, such as brands’ customer community where there is interaction between customers and brand agents.)

A talent community allows candidates to receive digital information from your employment brand regularly. Ideally, this information doesn’t just promote job openings; it shows candidates that they could have a great career with your company.

How do you build a talent community?
Here are four steps to building a powerful, engaging candidate community that inspires people to want to work for you:
  •  Determine the business goals your candidate community supports. What is your company  looking to gain from a candidate community? More traffic to your career site? An increase in  applicants? Better quality candidates? Once you determine the business goals, establish  metrics to track those goals, measure the community’s success and see where you need to make adjustments.

  • Always keep the candidate experience top of mind. Your community should be easy to join and the sign-up offer should be prominent on every page of your career site, in the application process and in email signatures from recruiters. Keep it simple: Name and email. Next, how your candidate community will benefit candidates? A candidate won't join if they don’t have a compelling reason to do so. What can you offer them that will help them get to know your company’s culture, learn more about the career paths available to them, and set your company apart as a great place to work? Explain these benefits through your career site and/or candidate communication.
  • Build a socially connected (but not annoying) community. You want to keep information flowing regularly by determining what type of information candidates want to hear from your company and planning to provide it. Don’t be annoying by flooding them with too much “marketing” type content. You want candidates to perceive you as helpful, genuinely interested in their success. If you make it all about you and how great it is to work at your brand without giving them a vision for how they will thrive with you, candidates will be turned off and unsubscribe. Also, identify how you’ll distribute different types of information: social media, email, newsletters, holiday postcards, etc. Remember, your goal is to build a sense of relationship between candidates and your employment brand.
  • Don’t overlook passive candidates. Every community has what are called “lurkers”—people who are listening and watching, but prefer not to interact. These are your passive candidates. Some of them may be top talent who are feeling out what your brand is all about. Keep these people engaged by becoming their career advocates. Provide thought leadership, tips on how to advance their careers, stories of career paths in your company, individual success stories of current employees, company perks, culture videos—all of these paint a picture of what it is like to work for your company and even more importantly, why it’s better to work for you than anyone else.

Follow these four steps and you’ll be off to building an outstanding candidate community that attracts top talent, keeps them interested and inspires them to apply!