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3 Magic Words for Building Company Culture: Professional Growth Opportunities

Building company culture is a huge undertaking. Don’t ask us, ask Maren Hogan of Red Branch Media. In a LinkedIn post, Maren outlines some of the core ingredients to the illusive “mystic brew” that is company culture.

There are many different approaches on how to build company culture. We’re in the position to believe that it’s much more nuanced than the “ping pong table + open office plan = company culture” formula we’ve seen touted around recently. Maren understands this, and writes past all the glitz to uncover one aspect that we found extremely important: skill development of employees, especially new hires.

Training programs have always been a big aspect of what candidate consider in the pre-hire process, and delivering on that promise is a big part of company culture. As Maren points out, 63 percent of employees said that professional learning opportunities would make them more engaged with their employer.

In addition, keeping track of the new hire is critically important to see if they are integrating into company culture. Do new hires feel they are being trained well for their role? Do they feel there is sufficient room for professional growth in the company? These are critical questions to be asking your new hires using a standard data collection tool. We produce these types of onboarding and engagement tools for two of our products, the Talent Congress and Analytics Outsourcing, and many companies are starting to make their own collection tools in house.

Don’t be the company that guesses about how their employees feel about company culture. Know your employee engagement from the minute a new hire walks through your door.

Don’t Take the “People” out of “People Analytics”

John Austin is right. People analytics are in the process of taking off. Anyone will only have to look at last week’s HR Tech Conference in Chicago to see that the industry is in the midst of a surge. But the fact stands, 48.5% of businesses do not use HR technology in their workforce management. In this digital age where recruiters are sourcing from social media and candidates can submit their resumes on their mobile phones, why do some aspects of HR remain in the stone age?

As a people analytics company, Aspen knows firsthand how HR analytics can reinvent a business. We have real stories from our clients to prove it. But again, John is right. Most companies don’t know how HR technology can help them, and with the multitude of options out there, often don’t even know where to start.

We’re partial to a services based approach – that is our business model after all – where an HR team will use our pre-built tools to start collecting and analyzing their data. We prefer data analytics services because it provides a crucial human touch to an industry that glamorizes everything robotic, automatic, and septic. You can talk to us about how you feel about your workforce initiatives, and we can convert your words into strategic action. You won’t get the same response from a software program.

What your Candidate Experience is Missing

Meghan M. Biro of Talent Culture recently wrote a LinkedIn article on her top tips to improve candidate experience, and we at Aspen cannot agree more with her sentiments.

As a talent analytics company, we cannot stress the importance of two specific tips that Meghan mentions enough: 1) communication and 2) honest feedback. The job application process is a two way flow of communication between recruiter and candidate – so why do we so often see processes that make it easy for candidates to stay silent?

Like Meghan, we believe that collecting real-time feedback from candidates allows for a flexible and ever-evolving hiring process. One option is to monitor candidate experience all year long, and have in depth analysis on your business groups, functions, regions and recruiting processes on a quarterly basis. Another option is to have a dedicated team whose job is to make sure no candidate falls into a black hole – and guarantee that all of your special initiatives get the appropriate advocacy.

Give your candidates a voice- you might be surprised at what they have to say.

Seth and Amy say “One Approach Across all Recruiting….Really!?!”

I love that bit that Seth Myers does. Its even better when Amy Poehler gets in the act. If you are not Saturday Night Live fans, there is a skit that is done during the Weekend Update (a spoof on the nightly news) where the anchors review the news of the week by calling out the intentions or actions of celebrities, politicians and leaders that were broadcast that week, and by asking “Really!?!”

Its good comedy, because it points fun at how people tend to say things, do things, or attempt to do things that are either impossible, not really viable, a waste of time, or have little return.

Its budget season already, and there are talks of companies on the push for enterprise wide change – again. But before you go down the road with the great conversation “we have to do recruiting one way, and have one process” – I suggest you do a vision analysis.

Answer each of these using a traffic light
NO = RED
MAYBE/SOMEWHAT = AMBER
YES = GREEN 

Q1: have you performed a risk analysis?

Q2: does management really know the hiring manager problem and can define it?

Q3: was a worst case analysis on vision achievement, adoption, and realization performed?

Q4: have you developed a prototype within your proposed constraints, and made adjustments such that it can be replicated within those constraints?

Q5: will the vision take less than 12 months to fully install, realize, and adopt?

Q6: do you have an exit strategy from the vision if failure occurs or is imminent?

Q7: does the firm have a success rate of 67% or more with similar projects at an enterprise level? Remember failure means over budget, too many resources, or behind schedule (getting it done is assumed).

Q8: did you revisit similar attempts for enterprise wide HR change, and analyze the holes in those plans, and recalibrate this vision?

The Vision should go through these questions (plus another 40) without having red all over the board. There are over hundreds of assets like this in a well planned project, but if you can’t get past just these 8 during your vision stage without having red all over the paper, then all I can say to you is “Really!?!”

Actually – its just means you need to mitigate risks and make some changes before you move forward, but still…really!?!