The Benefits of Hiring Veterans!

Each year as many as 360,000 military men and women join the civilian workforce.  Programs such as the Veteran Jobs Mission and the White House Joining Forces have helped reduce high unemployment numbers for veterans in recent years, however former military personnel still face several challenges when trying to find civilian work.

A stigma of mental illness surrounds many veterans today with the public grossly overestimating the number of those affected by issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder.  Additionally, employers struggle with how to incorporate military skills into civilian jobs.  Lastly, the military environment is culturally different than the civilian environment.  Job candidates are encouraged on their resumes and in interviews to focus on individual achievements, however the military mentality focuses on teamwork and group achievements.  Veterans, according to Melissa Stirling, director of military, campus and youth programs at Hilton Worldwide, are very humble and “not good at singing their own praises.”

Veterans offer numerous benefits! Below are but a few:

·         They have many of the necessary skills required to fill talent shortages.

·         They possess a strong work ethic.

·         They have problem solving skills.

·         They are disciplined.

·         They are safety conscious.

·         They are detail oriented.

·         They are team players.

The U.S. Department of Labor provides a veterans hiring tool kit with tips on how to hire and retain veterans.

·         Create a veterans hiring program and clearly outline your strategy and goals.

·         Create a workplace accommodating to veterans by better understanding their culture and experience.

·         Actively reach out to veterans and military spouses.

·         Partner with groups that can help you locate capable veterans.

·         Understand what you are permitted and not permitted to ask during an interview.

·         Develop a mentorship program with a veteran as the mentor.

·         Show appreciation for veterans’ service on Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

·         Explain their training and the organizational chart.

According to a survey by Futurestep, eighty percent of organizations lack veterans recruiting programs despite the overall success in employing them.  Organizations complaining that college graduates aren’t taught the necessary skills to compete in the workforce are neglecting a gold mine filled with candidates possessing ample and applicable skills.  Following the tips above will help better acquaint employers with the challenges a very skilled segment of the workforce face, but also how to incorporate them into their organizations and take advantage of their skills.

America’s Unemployed Youth Are Not Healthy. Here’s Why!

A Startling Statistic About the Health of Unemployed Youth in the U.S.“Thriving” well-being is defined by Gallup and Healthways as possessing consistently good health and enough energy to get things done during the day.  According to the Gallup-Healthways Global Well-Being Index, unemployed youth aged 15 to 29 enjoy slightly greater physical well-being compared with employed adults aged 50 and older.  In 47 high income countries, young and older adults were basically tied in terms of increased well-being, but with the unemployed youth slightly edging out their older, employed counterparts, twenty-six (26%) to twenty-four percent (24%).

That young adults have more energy than older adults is not too surprising, however, unemployed youth in the U.S. have worse physical well-being than older employed workers. Only 23% of youth were thriving compared to 31% of older workers.  In summary, those without jobs in the U.S. between the ages of 15-29 are in poorer health than those who are 50 + and have jobs and this stands in contrast to the rest of the world.  Even more surprising is that only 14% of unemployed youth with college educations have thriving well-being while those with just a secondary education or primary education have double that at 27% and 28% respectively.  Why is the U.S. an anomaly?  Why is America’s unemployed youth less healthy than the rest of the world?

One suggestion for why unemployment affects Americans more is the stigma of being unemployed and this stigma could be more profound the higher the education levels attained.  Spain, for example, has an unemployment rate among its youth near 40% while in the U.S. in July, the rate was only eleven percent.  One might deduce that a higher unemployment rate would contribute to poorer health but the physical well-being of Spanish youth is higher than that of youth in the States.  The hypothesis is that because so many Spanish youth are unemployed at the same time, they feel less stigmatized.  They are able to share the burden of unemployment together.

A second theory is a lack of family support.  A far greater number of unemployed youth living in lower and middle income economies worldwide, live with others, especially family, compared with many American youths who live alone.  Physical well-being is often tied to emotional well-being and so an absence or the minimal provision of emotional support often provided by family, could adversely affect the health of American youth.

These statistics highlight a troublesome trend among America’s unemployed youth which should be monitored to ensure troublesome healthcare issues don’t arise especially among those with advanced education. 

Beyond monitoring these healthcare issues we need to take a closer look at the source of the problem.  Do Americans place a greater burden to succeed on themselves as compared with inhabitants of other nations?  Those with higher educations, for example, have greater expectations placed on them to accomplish their goals and when they fall short, they appear to fall harder than most.  What, if anything, can be done to provide greater support and well-being for those in their early stages of life so that they don’t end up on mom and dad’s couch? 

 

What is A.I. and How Will It Affect Your Job?

Earlier this year I wrote about the coming robot storm and the studies that suggest many jobs now held by humans will soon be executed by robots.  Yesterday the Guardian published an article by Stephen Hawking who was commenting on, united-states-856368_640among other things, growing income inequality.  He remarked, “The automation of factories has already decimated jobs in traditional manufacturing, and the rise of artificial intelligence is likely to extend this job destruction deep into the middle classes, with only the most caring, creative or supervisory roles remaining.”

What exactly is AI and how does it differ from basic automation such as a robot working an assembly line? AI stands for Artificial Intelligence and though those words may inspire grandiose images of androids such as Star Trek’s Data, the applications for it are far less advanced but also more widespread.  Automation is hardware or software that is programmed to automatically complete a task based on external stimuli.  For example, a sprinkler system that automatically operates when smoke is detected or car headlights that turn on automatically.  AI however not only responds to the stimuli but learns from it to make better decisions for you in the future.

Here are a few examples of AI you perhaps have not noticed.

Autonomous cars – These are perhaps the most recognizable uses of artificial intelligence today.  Soon not only will our cars drive themselves by adapting to the environment around them but so too will our cabs, busses and commercial trucks.

Netflix, Hulu, Spotify – These sites don’t just allow you to watch movies or listen to music, their software algorithms makes suggestions based on your past viewing/listening choices. Think of automation as a record player changing the record, but AI will play the songs you most likely want to hear.

Fraud detection software – These programs understand your buying habits and can alert you of irregular purchases.

News writing – News outlets such as the AP use AI to write very basic news stories such as sports recaps or financial summaries.

The examples demonstrate a few ways that AI can improve our lives but also a few ways it can steal jobs, some of which may be taken sooner than later.  Autonomous trucks for example may save the trucking industry millions but it will also put drivers out of jobs.  The same is true for cab drivers.  These aren’t the only jobs in imminent danger.   According to a study on AI by McKinsey Global Institute, 64% of data collecting jobs and 69% of data processing jobs are ready for automation takeover. 

The good news for most industries is that wide adoption of these changes might still be decades away but they are certainly coming.  According to McKinsey’s Michael Chui, “There’s time for us to adapt.  We might start to think about, can AI save the economy by increasing productivity?”

The belief has always been that new technologies create jobs, but it doesn’t create new jobs for those whose jobs have been stolen.  The individual who loses his job driving a truck can’t immediately be shifted to a job writing software for that truck.  That opportunity is made available to a programmer in a different industry.  So yes, perhaps AI can increase productivity and give people more free time or it will take jobs from thousands and give those people a whole lot of free time!     

Millennials: Statistics About Them You Need to Know For Retention

Millennials, those born between 1980 and 1996, make up a majority of the workforce and by 2020 will comprise nearly half of all workers.  Millennials, as with previous generations before them, have been labeled as job hoppers.  Perhaps job portrait-1469500_640hopping is a symptom of youth or perhaps millennials truly are different from previous generations. Either way, understanding the job issues millennials must contend with and their motivations will help you better retain them as employees.

According to Gallup, these are the five most important issues millennials consider when applying for a new job:

·         Opportunities to learn and grow

·         Quality of manager

·         Quality of management

·         Interest in type of work

·         Opportunities for advancement

Below are a few statistics that paint a better picture of the millennial workforce climate.

·         Sixty-three percent of millennials have a bachelors degree.

·         Forty-eight percent of them work in jobs that don’t require a four year degree.

·         6 in 10 millennials are open to different job opportunities.

·         21% of millennials have switched jobs in the last year – 3x higher than non-millennials

·         Non-engaged millennials are 26% more likely than engaged millennials to take a different job for a raise of 20% or less.

·         Of the millennials that changed roles last year, 93% did so by changing companies.

·         59% of millennials say opportunities to learn and grow are extremely important to them when applying for a job.

·         48% say that overall compensation is extremely important to them when seeking new opportunities.

·         In their current jobs, 87% rate professional or career growth as important to them.

·         Less than 50% of millennials strongly agree that they’ve had opportunities to learn and grow in the last year.

·         77% of millennials say that flexible work hours are essential to boosting their generation’s productivity.

·         Fifty percent do not believe Social Security will be available when they reach retirement.

·         Fifty-six percent would not work at a company that banned social media access.

·         Sixty-nine percent believe office attendance is not necessary on a regular basis.

·         89% of smart phone owning millennials regularly check email outside of 9-5.

We now have a better view of the picture plaguing employers.  Millennials want more growth opportunities.  Millennials are working in jobs that don’t require a degree.  Millennials desire more work/life balance.  Millennials value social media and half feel they need to earn money now because no social security will be waiting for them when they retire.

Employers must do a better job of retaining their millennial workers by offering growth opportunities and benefits such as flexible hours that are more in tune with millennial desires.  They must also continue using social media and technologies such as video interviewing to reach younger workers routinely accessing the web and their social media presences over their phones.

As mentioned, 46% of the workforce will be made up of millennials in four years and if 60% of them are open to new opportunities, you have a significant chunk of the U.S. workers who could be jumping ship.  This benefits nobody in the long run.  So if you are looking for a New Year’s resolution it should be to retain, retain, retain.

Video Interviewing: What To Expect As a User.

You have heard all about video interviewing and its potential benefits to your hiring process. You may have read blog posts and reviewed the websites of several vendors trying to get a better sense of what to expect but still are a bit confused.  Here is where I break it down for you.

Users/Administrators:

As a user of a video interviewing product you will be given access to a portal from where you can access a number of functionalities.  Within most vendor portals you should be able to do the following: web-cam-796227_640

  • Access candidate interviews.
  • Invite candidates to take live or automated interviews.
  • Create custom questions which your candidates will answer.
  • Share completed candidate interviews with colleagues or clients.

Eighty percent of your portal usage will either be in setting up candidates or in reviewing and sharing candidate interviews. Video interviewing vendors will each offer their own bells and whistles but the majority, if not all, will offer the basic functionality listed above. Other common features are scoring candidates and the ability to compare interviews of a set of candidates side-by-side.

Inviting candidates to complete a video interview generally takes less than a minute.  When you share a completed interview with a colleague or client, they will receive a link to that candidate’s interview.  In most cases, videos cannot be downloaded and stored locally.  They are hosted in a secure environment on your vendor’s servers.

Vendors are required by U.S. law to store your video interviews for a period of up to one year (and 2 years in California).  Even if you cancel your subscription, those interviews should still be available to you.

Job candidates:

Job candidates for the most part will receive an email invitation from you to complete a video interview. You may set the expiration date by which it must be completed.  Candidates may log in on a computer or on a compatible mobile device.  Most vendors provide apps with versions for Android and iOS devices (ipads/iphones).

After logging in, your job candidates will be provided with basic instructions and then will be taken through a brief process that tests your candidate’s camera, speakers and microphone to ensure they are working properly.

Once your candidate begins the interview, the questions generally will appear one at a time on the screen and your candidates will have one chance to answer them before moving to the next question.  The length of time your candidates have to respond will depend on the parameters you established when you first setup the interview.  Response time may vary from sixty seconds to an unlimited amount.  Some vendors provide options that allow candidates to re-answer the question.  Once a candidate completes the interview they can log out.

If a candidate is taking part in a live interview with you, they will log in and meet with you online through your vendor’s interface.  Once you have concluded asking questions, you and the candidate may exit the interview.  Some providers offer the option to record or not record the live interview.

If you have any further questions please ask us.  Hire-Intelligence has been a pioneer in the world of video interviewing.  We are happy to assist you with your needs.

Would You Bench One of Your Employees for Unbecoming Conduct?

Many companies have employee code of conduct and work rule policies in place to ensure not only that operations go smoothly but also to ensure the interests and safety of its employees and the organization.  Here are a few workplace basketball-team-1604548_640behaviors that can often warrant disciplinary action or termination.

·         Theft of company property

·         Working under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol

·         Fighting or threatening violence in the workplace

·         Sexual harassment

·         Disclosure of confidential business information

·         Possession of explosives or firearms at work

These are all legitimate concerns and should receive discipline or even termination if practiced at work. What if, however, such offenses were committed outside the workplace?  Many organizations, especially sports associations such as the NFL and NBA, have policies that demand proper behavior off the field/court as well.

Josh Brown, a New York Giants kicker, was recently reprimanded by his organization for admitting that he had abused his girlfriend several times in recent years.  On top of that, he was unapologetic about it.  The Giants benched him for one game this past week until further judgement on him can be made, a move that has been highly criticized by the media as far too lenient.  Greg Hardy, a former defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys, was suspended his first four games of 2015 for a domestic dispute incident in 2014 in which he allegedly assaulted his girlfriend.  Hardy has also made disparaging comments about other players and their wives on social media.  In 2016, through six weeks, no team has signed him.

The NFL’s code of conduct policy extends beyond the workplace, not just to the club house, locker room or the field.  Unbecoming conduct in a player’s personal life is also subject to reprimand.

According to the NFL’s code of conduct policy when prohibited conduct is committed by one of its players, the player committing the offense, and the club to which he belongs, has an obligation to report the crime.  Additionally, their policy states, “Any Covered Person arrested for or charged with conduct prohibited by this policy will be required to undergo a consultation and additional counseling as directed.”  It goes on to say “Examples of such Prohibited Conduct include, without limitation: any crime involving the use or threat of physical violence to a person or persons; the use of a deadly weapon in the commission of a crime; possession or distribution of a weapon in violation of state or federal law; involvement in “hate crimes” or crimes of domestic violence; theft, larceny or other property crimes; sex offenses; racketeering; money laundering; obstruction of justice; resisting arrest; fraud; and violent or threatening conduct. Additionally, Covered Persons shall not by their words or conduct suggest that criminal activity is acceptable or condoned within the NFL.”

Does your corporate policy demand that employees report other employees for criminal activity that may occur outside of work? Does your personal conduct policy state that your employees must undergo counseling for their personal offenses or that they should be suspended for a period of time or fired?  Probably not.  Yes, you may fire an employee for showing up to work under the influence but would you at the very least demand counseling if they received a DUI on the weekend?

The NFL, its franchises, as well as other sports franchises and the players’ sponsors are worried about image.  They are worried about their brand.  Conduct unbecoming not only affects team chemistry but it affects sales as well.  Are your employees’ personal conduct violations affecting your company’s culture or morale and is that hurting overall performance and ultimately your organization’s brand?  Are you willing to bench one of your players or at the minimum, get them the help they need?  Why don’t you pretend for a moment that the TV cameras are constantly scrutinizing your every move and then decide.

The Dark Side Of Positive Candidate Attributes

What, if anything, could a hiring manager say negatively about a job candidate that was exceptionally achieving? How about a candidate exhibiting high levels of conscientiousness or sociability?  Surely no objections could be made about a star-wars-1724901_640cooperative or accommodating candidate!

In their quest to find culturally fitting job candidates, recruiters and hiring managers often yield to the results of behavioral assessments which paint either a positive or negative picture about the candidates’ potentials.  Of course specific traits are more favorable for certain roles than others.  For example, a quiet, unsociable candidate may not be suited for a sales or customer service role but may be perfectly suited for a role such a programming.  Some traits, however, are considered so universally positive that hiring managers may ignore the negative aspects of such traits that could manifest in their candidates after they are hired.

Achieving, for example, is a personality trait that suggests few drawbacks.  High achievers are often sought after for being dedicated, ambitious, and dynamic.  Yet, have you considered that an exceptionally achieving worker may also be unscrupulous, self-seeking and ruthless in their pursuit of their personal goals?  A candidate who already likes to bend the rules and also exhibits the dark aspects of achieving could potentially be an organizational problem.

Candidates who are sociable/outgoing with warm, friendly demeanors may not often be turned away in favor of quiet, less sociable candidates, but every trait has a dark side.  These candidates may be excessively talkative, boisterous, or even uninhibited to the point that they are disruptive and tactless.

Here are a few more outwardly positive personality characteristics and their dark alter egos. 

·         Confident – Arrogant, smug, patronizing

·         Bold – Reckless, unprepared, brash

·         Assertive – Overbearing, blunt, dominating, forceful.  Combine this with confidence and boldness and you are liable to hire a Wolf of Wall Street type.

·         Accommodating – Submissive, passive, pushover

·         Tenacious – Obstinate, inflexible,

·         Disciplined – Fussy, obsessive, dictatorial

·         Decisive – Opinionated, impetuous, trigger happy

As shown above with assertive, many of these negative characteristics, when coupled with corresponding traits, may be amplified. A person with a high level of confidence and moderate levels of assertiveness and or boldness may not be an issue, however high levels of each may produce a toxic performer. My earlier post on this subject showed that parting ways with toxic employees, even if ranked in the top 1% for productivity, saved a company more in expense than what the company earned from the superstar’s production.

So, when you are looking to hire your next Jedi, be careful whether you are hiring an individual who wants to destroy the Death Star or who wants to build a Death Star.  You may end up with a bold, confident Vader over a bold, confident Luke!

Employee Turnover: It’s Not Always As Bad As You Think

In business most professionals understand that employee turnover is bad while employee retention is good.  Perhaps because in the corporate world success is measured in dollars gained vs. dollars lost and most know that employee turnover is a big expense.  The cost of replacing entry level employees is 30-50 percent of their annual salary while mid-level employees may cost a company as much as 150 percent of their salary to replace.

Retaining employees for as long as you are able to avoid turnover costs is rational, however turnover can also be beneficial.  Years ago my colleague was speaking about turnover with a gentleman who ran a call center.  This manager found that exit3 turnover, after a period of time had elapsed, was beneficial because he could hire entry level call center agents at a pay rate lower than what the exiting agents had been earning.  Periodic turnover allowed the call center manager to reduce costs.

One issue often associated with employee turnover is a decrease in company morale as remaining employees have to shoulder the responsibilities the departing employee left behind until the role is filled.  Low employee morale of course can also be created by retaining a disruptive employee who poisons your culture and office atmosphere.  The departure of such an employee could produce positive results within days.  In a previous post I pointed to a study which revealed that avoiding a toxic worker, even one in the top 1% for productivity, saves a company far more than the cost savings they would receive from employing the superstar.

Turnover also provides the opportunity to inject more energy into your business. Long retained workers may lose passion for what they do.  While they leave to seek greater challenges elsewhere with a renewed vigor, your company may provide a similar challenging opportunity to an incoming employee.  Though you may have to train them, their energy level and spirit for the new challenges that lie ahead may spark morale and spirit in the workplace.

Turnover, especially in senior positions, may eliminate the tendency for mirror image hiring.  Mirror image hiring is a hiring manager’s propensity to hire those with similar backgrounds or behavioral characteristics.  According to I/O psychologist Allen Gorman, “The ‘similar-to-me’ bias could also lead to creativity stagnation and lack of innovation in organizations.  This happens because as organizations continue to hire employees that have the same backgrounds and experiences as those already in the organization, employees begin to think and behave in the same fashion due to their shared experiences.”

Turnover is uncomfortable not just in terms of revenue lost and the expenses associated with finding/training a new employee but also the concern of how a new employee will fit into one’s corporate culture.  Change however brings new life and enthusiasm and so turnover should be viewed as an opportunity to not only improve your company but potentially reduce expenses in the long run.

Economy Great! Americans Angry! What Gives?

The U.S. is one of the richest countries in the world per capita, ranking 5th out of 133, yet according to the 2016 Social Progress Index, America ranks only 19th in terms of converting that economic success into improvements for its citizens. sad-842518_640

This is similar to a professional sports team possessing a great win/loss record, highly paid executives and great attendance but having disgruntled fans and players.  Why are the players and the fans so upset?  To better understand this we must fully understand what exactly the Social Progress Index measures.

The Social Progress Index measures progress based on these three categories.

Basic Human Needs:

  • Nutrition and basic medical care
  • Water and sanitation
  • Shelter
  • Personal safety

Foundations of Wellbeing:

  • Access to basic knowledge
  • Access to information and communication
  • Health and wellness
  • Environmental quality

Opportunity:

  • Personal rights
  • Personal freedom and choice
  • Tolerance and inclusion
  • Access to advanced education

As far as providing access to advanced education and shelter the U.S. is performing exceptionally well.  Unfortunately, it performs poorly in several other categories such as health and wellness, access to basic knowledge, personal safety and nutrition & basic medical care.  Additionally, wage growth, a measurement not calculated by the Social Progress Index, has been stagnant.  Research by Indeed showed that only fifteen percent of workers were in jobs that see consistent wage growth keeping pace with inflation.  Of these jobs, 50% were located in just nine states.  Furthermore, training that would allow these growth jobs to be filled by U.S. workers is not readily available.  Even worse, the situation isn’t improving.  Last year the U.S. ranked 16th in Social Progress, slipping three spots to now sit just ahead of Slovenia.

Here we see that, despite companies getting richer and the economy strengthening, many of the opportunities and benefits Americans expect to enjoy as a result are not trickling down to them.  The team is making plenty of money but the fans are overweight, out of breath, are getting mugged in the parking lot, can’t access WiFi on their phones and the players have seen little wage growth despite their exceptional win/loss record.

Honestly, aside from stagnant wage growth and the obesity epidemic, I didn’t feel we Americans were doing so poorly.  Now it seems I and everyone else should be up in arms!  Especially when considering that countries such as Costa Rica and Nepal over perform on Social Progress despite their low GDPs.

So what can we do about it? Just getting angry and acting out won’t get us anywhere.  The first step is to identify our problems and then explore the solutions that are working elsewhere to see which ones might apply here in the USA.  Only with focus and positive action can America begin to turn things around and address the issues so incensing us today.

Interview4 Video Interviewing Reduces Customer Turnover Six Percentage Points

Calling Interview4 video interviewing “a life changer”, a large retailer finds the service not only reduces turnover, but also saves time and money by allowing the screening of more candidates in the same amount of shopping-centre-1003650_640time that used to be devoted to phone screening.  Eliminating the agony of the phone interview has resulted in happier teams and a better corporate culture.

The quality of job candidates brought in for live interviews increased markedly.  Each candidate who took a video interview could be evaluated easily in just ten to twelve minutes, putting more time into each recruiter’s day.

Before Interview4, picking candidates to be advanced in the hiring process was hotly contested because only one person actually spoke to each candidate via phone.  Everyone else just saw the written summaries of the calls.

Now, the recorded video interviews can easily be shared with team leaders, program managers, and other decision makers.  They can review, grade and comment on each candidate.Virtual video interviews are also convenient to schedule for both the employer and the candidates.

Finally, the Interview4 team got high marks for their customer focus and willingness to cater to customers’ needs.