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.
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 hopping 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.
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 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.
Every organization wants superstar employees and some will even delay the hiring process weeks or even months until that perfect candidate blips on the radar. What happens though if once you find your purple squirrel, they have mange or rabies? Do you cut them lose or keep them around for their quota busting, nut gathering ability?
Economist Dylan Minor and Cornerstone OnDemand’s chief analytics officer, Michael Housman, examined nearly 60,000 workers to determine the cost of retaining toxic workers. In their study, they define “toxic” as conduct harmful to an organization’s people or property. They found that retaining toxic workers, even those residing in the top 1% for productivity, cost far more than the rewards reaped from a toxic employee’s high production.
Their study revealed that a top one percent worker could produce over $5,000 in annual cost savings however a company could avoid $12,000 in costs by not hiring a toxic worker. In short a toxic worker, even if they are super productive, is far more costly to an organization than an average, non-toxic worker. Take a look at the chart below provided in their study!
Even though a worker in only the top 25% of productivity saves a company far less than one in the top 1%, the study shows that replacing a superstar toxic worker with a less than stellar non-toxic worker, to still be the more cost effective choice.
Why are toxic workers so much more expensive? The most apparent answer is turnover. Toxic workers drive other employees away and the cost of replacing those employees is high not to mention that morale and productivity often drop until a replacement is found. Additionally toxic workers produce other toxic workers. Negativity spreads like wildfire.
Interestingly enough, toxic workers are more productive in terms of their output and one 2013 study found that unethical workers remain longer at organizations. This explains why toxic workers are so often selected and even retained for long timespans.
In summary, avoid hiring a toxic worker if you can but should you find yourself burdened with one or many, remove them despite their high production. As former GE CEO Jack Welch put it, “People are removed for having the wrong values…we don’t even talk about the numbers.”
Last year the national average for filling an open position reached 29 days which was a record. Believing that recruiters are simply dragging their feet and waiting for a purple squirrel is a common assumption and true to some extent. To be fair though to recruiters and hiring managers, the number of measures that must be taken the moment a position becomes vacant needs to be considered.
- Advertise the position
- Identify acceptable candidates
- Conduct interviews
- Complete background and reference checks
- Extend an offer
- Wait for the candidate to accept the offer
When you consider all of this, 29 days doesn’t seem so long but it is! According to some statistics, top talent remains on the market for only 10 days! Additionally, during that 29 days, as the position remains open, productivity, revenue and morale drops among your employees. The solution seems simple. Speed up the hiring process! Weed out candidates with an ATS. Conduct more interviews in less time with video interviewing! Even with those measures in place, is ten days to fill a realistic goal?
Recruiting in the business world isn’t like recruiting in the sports or entertainment industry. My team has an open position at quarterback and Cam Newton is available? You’d better believe we are going after him! He’s a proven star! Carmello Anthony is a free agent and I need a forward? My VP of People Operations is calling up Carmello’s agent. My movie’s director just dropped out? Let’s see, is Scorsese Spielberg or Christopher Nolan available? No? What about Alejandro Inarritu? He’s been nominated twice in the last two years.
Within these fields top talent can easily be identified. Right from the start a short list of stars to fill the open position is formed. In the corporate world unless you are poaching executives at the “C” level from high profile companies such as Amazon, Apple or Google, most top talent is relatively unknown. You don’t know that you have a potential Steph Curry, Odell Beckham Jr., or Cate Blanchett applying for your open position. At least not from the start.
Though your job candidate’s resume may scream success up front, you certainly want more than a few days to determine the validity of their credentials. Assuming an organization is lucky enough to find their dream candidate within seven days of posting a job, recruiters are left with only three days to interview the candidate, verify references and negotiate an offer before the candidate accepts another. Careerbuilder released a survey a few years ago and the results showed that 41% of employers believed a bad hiring decision cost them upwards of $25,000 and 43% of them blamed their bad hires on a rushed hiring decision.
Organizations face a problem. Move too quickly during the hiring process and they risk hiring the wrong candidate. Move too slowly and they risk a great candidate getting away. Move slower still, 29 days slow, and they risk losing not only the good candidates but all of the rest. Hiring managers can ill afford to hold out and wait for a Steph Curry or an Adrian Peterson. As Dr. John Sullivan points out, “…it’s mostly luck if the most desirable candidates decide to enter the job market precisely when you coincidentally have a job opening.”
So can you hire a great candidate in ten days? Yes, but only if luck is on your side. Generally you shouldn’t try because your rushed hiring decision could produce a bad hire. However if you drag your feet too long waiting for the perfect candidate, your luck will turn to misfortune. That is if you believe losing revenue is unfortunate.
Last week my blog post implied that an increase of available jobs would make finding talent more difficult for hiring managers, but would also spur them into making a hiring decision more quickly. In the past, you see, hiring managers were content to drag their feet believing that job candidates would wait a discourteous amount of time because few other jobs were available to them. Continue reading “Hiring Managers, Wake Up and Hire Your Candidates Already!” »
If you are a hiring manager or HR professional you may have seen one or two of these statistics in the last year but probably not all together or all at once. Gather them into one place and you see a picture of one very frustrated and displeased workforce. The time to take notice is now! Continue reading “U.S. Workforce: The Scary Truth About Who is Looking, Leaving and Who Just Doesn’t Care.” »
Turnover rolls along at high rates and at a high cost to employers. Rates run as high as 35% in the hospitality industry. Costs, according to research by SHRM, can be as much as “60% of an employee’s annual salary, whereas total costs of replacement, including training and loss of productivity, can range from 90% to 200% of an employee’s annual salary.”
It seems like the cost of turnover is like a dirty little secret no one wants to talk about. Or do anything about. Yet we are talking about literally billions of dollars a year in costs.
The year 2007 began with a quit rate of around 3 million employees per month. That’s out of a labor force of about 150 million in the U.S. During the subsequent Great Recession, when self-reported employee satisfaction rose and departures went down, 1.6 million employees still quit in the month of September 2009, the lowest number reported in years. Since that bottom, the number of employees quitting has steadily grown to around 2.5 million per month. There has been no indication that the one-time decline in quits would become a new normal.
Why do employers accept high rates of turnover and its hidden costs? One reason may be that turnover allows employers to keep wage rates down.
I was at a conference a few years ago and found myself pitching programs to a C-level executive of a Fortune 1000 company that could improve the quality of his hiring, and thereby lower turnover. He listened for a moment and then interrupted me, saying “Jim, you just don’t understand. We like turnover.” When I asked him to explain, he glibly answered “we hire them at $8 per hour, give ‘em a six-month raise to 10 bucks, and then hope they leave before we have to bump them to $12. We then bring in their replacement at $8 and start the process all over again.”
Despite all the happy talk about employee satisfaction and engagement, how can employees find satisfaction in jobs where they are simply treated as “factors of production”, fungible commodities to be traded off for some illusory cost savings?
I believe that employers have an inherent commitment to help their employees find satisfaction in and through their work. If you believe this way, then excessive turnover is an affront and should be addressed.
Is A Lack of “Executive Presence” Impeding Your Career?
A report from the Center for Work-Life Policy, a non-profit research organization recently found that though they are highly ambitious and motivated, Asian professionals are unable to reach senior positions at their companies. According to Asians in America: Unleashing the Potential of the ‘Model Minority’, sixty-three percent of Asian men feel stalled in their careers. Forty-one percent of Asian men said the bias issues they faced were severe enough that they’ve scaled back their work efforts and nearly twenty percent said they plan to quit within a year.
These biases, labeled as the “bamboo ceiling”, occur as Asians move up the corporate ladder and are held back from executive positions through the perception that they don’t have “executive presence”. This presence considers factors such as appearance, self-confidence, poise, authenticity and an individual’s ability to “look the part” as defined by the corporate culture.
The bamboo ceiling and this assumption that Asians lack executive presence brings up yet another set of criteria for which job candidates are assessed. Today job candidates are screened for not only their qualifications and skills but also a number of behavioral characteristics most candidates don’t consider, and for which many hiring managers don’t even realize they are subconsciously screening. These may include is the candidate “likable”, do they appear “healthy”, are they dressed appropriately and well groomed and now, do they have “executive presence?”
Job candidates should try to be aware of all the criteria for which they are now evaluated. Is your lack of self-confidence hurting your chances at securing that sought after leadership position as is allegedly occurring with Asian professionals? Are you discriminated against based on your weight or appearance because companies fear paying the health care costs associated with overweight individuals?
While no hiring manager may admit to eliminating a candidate for anything but a lack of qualified skills, a myriad of other issues influence the hiring manager’s decision. Actors with years of experience and training must still audition for roles for which they are suited based on criteria such as their age, weight, and height, not just their comedic and or dramatic ability. So too must qualified job candidates with years of experience now “audition” for executive positions based on a number of similar criteria that could make or break their role as superstar employee.