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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.

Featured Video: Sourcing and Recruiting Social Summit

The Sourcing and Recruiting Social Summit was held in Washington, DC in early April and brought together industry experts to share tools, techniques and strategies around the optimization of sourcing and recruiting channels.  Aspen attended to absorb the insights of the recruiting organizations, sourcers and talent acquisitions managers.  This one day event had a number of different sessions focusing on social sourcing and recruiting, using social media in recruiting, mobile recruiting and much more.  Speakers included Shally Steckerl, Carmen Hudson, Glenn Gutmacher and many other industry experts.

Enjoy this quick video of the some of the attendees speaking about their takeaways from the conference, including Aspen’s Andrew Gadomski on the many important uses of digital technology that go beyond sourcing and recruiting.

Anatomy of an Executive Search – The Rainmaker

Our business is growing and I am amped about it. We have new products and tools coming out that are going to blow the lid off of strategic talent acquisition, and it’s been a long time coming. We just hit year six. We are profitable, stable, and the brand is growing. I have the team partnered up with PR resources, marketing resources, and we are getting ready for a nice direct push. Our advisors are ready for the incoming work that has us booked up though the fall, and I have several people on backup as we need it.

But direct marketing and sales is not the only way we are growing this business. We have learned that our services and technology is a strategic advantage for HR service providers that sell to the same market that we do. They obviously don’t sell strategic consulting – they position payroll services, outplacement, recruiting, legal services, technology and so on. None of them are competitors, because we just don’t have that many.

But they have plenty.

Its no secret that we offer exclusivity. Its a principal we had since I founded the business. I didn’t realize how powerful that was until HR service providers had tools that their competitors did not have – our tools. And now we have an opportunity to leverage that. We are hunting for providers of technology and services typically purchased by HR organizations to buy our services and Pando technologies, and make it part of their own service offering. In return – we don’t offer it to their competitors. Ah ha – a sales differential. Ah ha – a retention tool. Nice.

But these deals are huge, multi-faceted, multiple years, and full of intellectual property pitfalls. It’s not a $X0,000 annual license for a technology that needs to be renewed each year. I need a rainmaker. Someone who can chase down the safari sized deals, and make it work. I know that I am instrumental to the deal, but I have a business to lead too. I have to find a rainmaker that can get these deals started. It won’t take many to grow the business, but I have feeling we are going to plenty of companies say “we can sell it, but we won’t buy it.” I am not looking for channel sales 😉

It’s not going to be easy, but I know it’s straightforward. This is not my first rodeo in finding executives – and that is what this job is. An executive who has savvy, expertise, can close and has been there and done what others think they do. I want Alec Baldwin in Glengary Glenross. Coffee is for closers only.

So as I was preparing for this, I thought “why not blog about this and tell people how I am doing it?” I tell people in a closed door session what I would do, and it’s not a secret, so why not expose it this way…so here is blog #1

Who did you buy from?
First item on the agenda? Make a killer list of my contacts who probably deal with these folks. I have had a few interactions with folks directly, and of course they are on the list. I have good network of procurement officers at corporations, legal folks who navigate deals, and of course CHROs and heads of staffing. Turned that list over to my research team, and appointments are being set up. My approach is tell the story – here is how my business is going to grow, who can help me do that, and don’t point me in the direction of some wanna-be. Who did you sign a multi-year, $X00,000 to $X,000,000 technology and services deal with that you were impressed with?

Right? Did you really think I was gonna send a bunch of LinkedIn Inmails? Not for this gig. I want to hear “they were awesome – they will love this Andrew”. I had a call the other day – and got two leads that do exactly that, and I have a handful of more calls setup.

What do they need to have to make them effective?
But here is the other part of the conversation – I am asking these buyers what the rainmaker needs for them to be able to buy from them. I have worked up an assessment and list of competencies and experiences (featured in the blog after the next one) but I don’t know everything. I have recruited people like this before, but I never HIRED anyone like this before. So I am finding out what I need to add to my assessment.

What’s next? A “description” of the role that someone will actually read and respond too. But it’s not really for them…it’s for me.If I have to lead them, I need a plan and follow it. It’s starts with that initial role design.