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Friday, February 3, 2017

Top hiring tips: from HR professionals, for HR professionals

By Miranda Nicholson, Director of HR, Formstack

Picture this: you’re looking for a new job. You hear about a new opening at a fantastic company and submit your application. You have a great interview, receive an offer, and accept it in a heartbeat.

This is an ideal scenario for a perfectly qualified candidate, but every HR professional knows there’s a lot more that goes into recruiting behind the scenes. Where do you find the perfect candidate for a role? What criteria does each individual need to meet before they receive the opportunity to interview? What interview questions will show you how they might perform as an employee? And, if they’re hired, how do you know if they’ll get along well with other employees in your organization?

With all these factors—and more—in play, it’s no wonder that hiring is one of the top HR challenges faced by human resources professionals across the globe.

To better understand how organizations overcome the hiring challenge, Formstack asked HR professionals from different backgrounds for some of their best tips on hiring the right employee for a role. They gave us some outstanding insights and advice on different pieces of the recruitment puzzle, which we narrowed down into three main takeaways:

1. Define What “Fit” Means to Your Organization

Hiring for fit is an obvious part of the recruiting process, but few organizations actually take the time to identify what “fit” means for them. To get started, Mike Bensi, advisor at FirstPerson, suggests considering these key questions:

1. What are the core values that make up your company’s culture?
2. What kind of behaviors do employees need to be successful in your organization?
3. What kind of behaviors might signify a red flag?

Don’t hesitate to brainstorm with other employees on your team or in your organization to get a strong sense of culture, success, and overall fit. Answering questions like these will help you build a unique value proposition for your company’s recruiting experience and can become a solid framework for your interview process.

2. Create an Experience that Defines Your Recruiting Brand

As a representative of your organization, Michelle Rodriguez, HR Manager for the Indianapolis Colts, says you should strive to provide the best possible experience for all job candidates in your talent pool—not just for the candidates who receive an offer. Communication and trust both play a vital role throughout the recruiting process, so it’s important to establish trust with candidates early on. If you tell a candidate you’ll follow up with them on Friday, you need to get back to them on Friday, even if you still haven’t made a decision.

Trisha Borme, talent acquisition manager at Interactive Intelligence, has found recruiting success by building a team of passionate talent professionals who designed the right process for her organization. Two major components of their process were assessing candidates’ soft skills and conducting a cultural assessment. Trisha notes that the candidate experience is very important and can make a major impact on your talent brand. Stringing candidates along without consistent communication is frustrating and unfair to them. Your recruiting brand will suffer if they share their negative impressions of your company with others. On the other hand, candidates who receive a great experience with timely and intentional communication can become advocates for your organization even if they aren’t hired.

3. Build Relationships to Expand Your Talent Pool

Even if your company has low employee turnover, it’s important to maintain a deep talent pool so that you’re prepared whenever the need for talent arises. Karin Gorman, president of the consulting division at Staff America Inc., encourages companies that struggle to find high quality candidates to reconsider their candidate sources. Building relationships with candidate sourcing organizations will help you fill your hiring funnel with candidates that have the skills and experience necessary for the job. For example, if you’re looking for a skilled graphic designer, connect with a local art college or institute. Once you establish a connection with those organizations, continue to foster the relationship through consistent communication, even when you don’t have job openings. This takes time but is absolutely worthwhile in the long run. If all else fails, consider partnering with a staffing agency that can help you fill those skilled roles.

If you continue to struggle with recruiting, take the time to identify your own personal hiring roadblocks and implement some of the above HR tips. While there’s no simple solution, putting more effort into these parts of your recruiting process is a great way to get started.

Miranda Nicholson is the Director of HR at Formstack, overseeing the acquisition, onboarding, and retention of current and to-be Formstackers.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Four Quick Fixes to Prevent Culture From Sabotaging Your Strategy

By Caleb Powers, Vice President of Sales at Palladium Group, Inc.

Over the years, Palladium has helped many organizations better align their culture and strategy to achieve the financial and social results they’re striving for. Used wisely, intangible assets such as culture provide a powerful competitive advantage, particularly in the new world of the impact economy. Increasingly, organizations must formulate strategies and implement solutions that deliver enduring social and economic benefit. In this blog post, we share the four most common culture-bound mistakes made by organiaations when it comes to strategy execution and how to fix them.

Pushing a strategy that conflicts with your culture

One of the most common mistakes that organizations make is trying to launch strategic projects that don’t align with their culture. First, be honest about what constitutes your true company culture—not what’s slapped on the wall in a poster, but how people behave every day. If your culture must change in order to implement strategy successfully, gather the leadership team to share a united message to your organization.
For example, your organization may have always focused on financial goals, but for the first time you’re looking at how you can deliver positive impact: the intentional creation and measurement of enduring social and economic value. In today’s impact economy, consumers are increasingly demanding this change, and encouraging your employees to consciously think about the company’s strategy and culture is a powerful way to inspire change.

Treating culture as an HR problem

The most fundamental resource for an impact-focused organization is its people. While culture can be managed and even transformed, it shouldn’t be treated as a “check-the-box” exercise. Often leadership will inform HR of a new change management framework and walk away. While it’s important to pursue culture in partnership with HR, all other areas in the organization should be on board to guarantee that new business principles are absorbed into the operational and social personality of an organization—ensuring culture is managed alongside strategy.
Culture is more than the culmination of your organization’s values—it’s the way individuals behave and interact, and it deserves just as much attention as your strategy.

Building a risky strategy for a risk-averse organization

How willing is your company to take risks? Understanding tolerance for risk is critical to executing your strategy effectively. When leadership teams in risk-averse organizations roll-out a drastically different vision for the future, it can be demotivating—and terrifying—for employees.

Assess your organization’s appetite for risk. Are the risks worth taking? If so, create a communications plan that presents an urgent reason why the organization should change. For people to take up a new challenge, they need to understand the potential impacts and upsides involved.

A lack of employee empowerment

When you execute your strategy, it’s important to consider your teams’ ability to make decisions and drive change. In many cases, executives may find it hard to let go, even if they’ve assigned a project manager for strategic initiatives. Individuals and project teams need to be clear about their responsibilities and decision-making abilities.

Final thoughts

Taking the first step to intentionally manage your culture alongside your strategy can be difficult, but it will lead to better results and happier employees. If you want a strategy that improves your economic and social performance, you have to be serious about changing behaviors—often those embedded deep in your culture. Getting people to change is hard, but not impossible. As the world moves rapidly into the impact economy, it will be those companies driving innovative change with their culture and strategy who will be most successful.

For more information about our strategy execution services please email Caleb Powers ( or visit our strategy capabilities page.