2014 / 08

Culture Fit? There’s an App for that!

by Jeanne Knutzen | August 21, 2014

0 Hiring - Best Practices Culture Fit, Employee Culture fit, Employee Selection, good.co, HR Professionals, Job seekers and employees

By Ira S. Wolfe Culture fit is very often the determining factor on whether an employee stays at a job long-term. With one out of two workers quitting before 18 months, managers could use some help. Despite years of urging hiring managers and HR professionals to focus employee selection on culture and team fit, many hiring decisions still ignore attitude and personal values, especially at a time when skilled workers are scarce and unfilled jobs plague many businesses. When the education and experience fits, it seems to blind managers to the fact that no matter how good the wings, pigs won't fly. However, if managers don't get the importance of culture fit, job applicants sure do. A new app has been released that helps jobseekers and employees figure out how well matched they are–or aren't–to the company. The app, developed by Good.co, is another warning shot across the employer's bow when it comes to hiring. Too many companies prefer to ignore and look the other way. Employers aren't the wizard behind the curtain anymore. When they finally pull back the curtain and look outside, the job and labor markets will look much different. Job applicants are now often more savvy, more sophisticated, and better equipped to make job choices than managers are prepared to make good hiring decisions. While employers have been reluctant to assess jobseekers for job and culture fit using various assessments, jobseekers seem to be doing it on their own. Jobseekers–at least the ones owning the skills and talent–are now making the decision to apply or accept a job based on fit, not the other way around. This reversal of fortune should scare the bejeezus out of management. What's more is that Good.co ditched their web application and decided to focus exclusively on mobile devices. It's another sign as to how job applicants are using mobile devices to look for and apply to jobs...while many companies are still living in a world of paper and email applications. Jobseekers want to apply for a job, chat with management, participate in an interview, and even complete pre-employment assessments via their mobile devices–just like they shop, buy, communicate, and even complain with businesses every day as customers. Yet employers still insist jobseekers fill out lengthy applications on paper or on a non-mobile-friendly website or email a resume. Far worse, the response and feedback to jobseekers is slow to non-existent. It's another indication of how out of touch many businesses are with the new realities of staffing a workforce. I'm not saying that this app is the end-all-and-be-all of employee screening. It's not. But it is the beginning of a tsunami-like shift in how employers will hire and how jobseekers (and employees) will find new jobs. It's an indication of how much technology, social media, the Internet, and a demographic shift has changed recruiting and employee screening. For now, these jobseeker-side personality quizzes are mostly entertaining. But as tech companies accumulate more and more data, hiring and retention will become very interesting as jobseekers and employees assess their fit with a company long before the company even has a chance to contact them. Ira S. Wolfe is a nationally recognized thought leader in talent management and an expert in pre-employment assessment testing, workforce trends, and social media. Wolfe is president of Success Performance Solutions (www.successperformancesolutions.com), a pre-employment and leadership testing firm he founded in 1996. He is the author of several books, including Geeks, Geezers, and Googlization; The Perfect Labor Storm 2.0; and Understanding Business Values and Motivators. He can be reached at iwolfe@super-solutions.com.

Ground Rules for Applicant Follow Up

by Jeanne Knutzen | August 21, 2014

0 Hiring - Best Practices Applicant Follow Up, Application Process, Interview Process, Recruitment Process

By Debbie Hatke Question: What are the ground rules for following up with job applicants after they've applied (even ones that aren't even minimally qualified)? Answer: This is definitely a challenge in today's job market when applying to a job is a click away. If the candidate was interviewed but not selected, it is extremely important that you send them a letter notifying them of your decision. Doing this is beneficial to both you and the candidate. Notifying someone that they did not get the job is respectful; it allows them to "move on" and continue their job search. This can help establish you as an employer of choice–a company that treats both their employees and prospective employees with respect. You should also keep in mind that current interviewees may be future customers of your business or know someone who already is. Sending a candidate a letter can be good for your reputation as a business as well as an employer. If you are worried that you simply don't have the time to write and send a candidate letter, consider that doing so will actually help you organize your recruitment process, which will save you time in the long run. By telling interviewees that you will follow up with them and then doing so in a timely manner, you'll have fewer calls and emails to respond to. Also, once you get a basic letter written, it will take very little time to personalize before sending it out to each candidate. Some important things to consider when writing the letter are:

  • Address the candidate by name, and try to personalize the letter as much possible.
  • Always thank them for their time, effort, and interest. It's nice to include a heart-felt compliment such as, "Your qualifications were impressive."
  • State the reason why they did not get the position. Generally, the reason given is that the position has been filled by a candidate whose credentials were better suited to the position. There is also nothing wrong with simply stating that the position has been filled.
  • Describe the company procedure, if there is one, regarding keeping resumes on file. You may also offer the applicant the opportunity to apply for future positions. Of course, only do so if you are sincere.
  • Wish the applicant well in their future job search.
  • If you are sending the letter by regular post, always include your signature.
It's important to keep the letter brief, and remember to be honest, kind, and tactful. Finally, be sure to send the letters out quickly after making your decision, but not so quickly that the candidate feels like you didn't give them fair consideration (Two to three days post-interview is a good rule of thumb). A well-thought out hiring process helps you better target candidates, and how you treat current candidates definitely has a positive impact the response you get with future searches. Debbie Hatke is the Talent Strategy Manager at Strategic HR, Inc., a national full service HR consulting firm based in Cincinnati, OH. If you have questions or comments about this article, you can contact her at Debbie@StrategicHRinc.com.

The Rehire: How To Win Back Good Employees

by Jeanne Knutzen | August 21, 2014

0 Hiring - Best Practices Boomerang Employee, Employee Rehire, Hiring Manager, Returning Employee, Snyder Effect

 By Jessica Miller-Merrell The economy is like a pendulum and has been swinging back toward prosperity. As a hiring manager or organizational leader, it may have been only a few short years ago you were scheduling meetings in regard to corporate layoffs. Layoffs cost your organization more than the size of its employees. And, you lost more productivity than you can simply regain with the sourcing, hiring, and training of a new body. Experience, insight, and industry knowledge walked out the door with every pink slip. Today, you want to regain the momentum you lost, wind up, and take off down the path of prosperity and growth. Add the extra challenge of the talent that stayed the course with you through the slowdown which is now being syphoned off by other companies, further weakening your company's internal talent. You need to add new talent. You need qualified candidates. You need them now. You may be faced with the prospect of a rehire. Often referred to as a boomerang employee, a rehire is defined as someone who is a returning employee. Their role may be the same or different, but they left the organization at some point either voluntarily or involuntarily. They already understand the culture of the organization; they know what is expected and are familiar with the work environment. The boomerang employee doesn't just have to be a victim of a layoff. He or she could have left for what seemed like a greener pasture. Maybe they retired and realized they weren't quite ready. Whatever the case may be, they used to work for your company and now don't. But, having them back could mean a boost to your company's productivity and talent. I call this the coach Snyder effect. Rehires come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. Take head football coach Bill Snyder of the Kansas State Wildcats. Snyder took the head football coaching job at Kansas State in 1989. What Snyder did for the Wildcats is nothing short of legendary and his list of awards and accomplishments through the years are amazing. He retired in 2005 and Kansas State moved on; the tradition amazing football KSU fans had grown to expect took an immediate nosedive. It didn't take long for rumors of a return from retirement to start churning. And, in November 2008, coach Snyder was rehired and returned to the sidelines in 2009 – a rare return in college football. The same holds true for Howard Schultz, former Starbucks CEO, who returned to lead the then struggling coffee house chain in early 2008. Schultz returned to replace Jim Donald as the head coffee bean. Upon Schultz's return, organizational changes were made resulting in store closures, layoffs, and product offering changes. It seems that this boomerang made an impact as sales for Starbucks continue to soar since his return. Jay Leno is another great example. In 2004, NBC brought on Conan O'Brien with the intentions of replacing Jay Leno as late night show host. Leno retired as host in 2009 ushering in a new era as O'Brien took the lead spot. Ratings suffered and Leno was effectively rehired into his old position, debuting the new old Late Show in March 2010. Should you bring back lost employees and is it a good idea for your company? Before you start sifting through past employee files, there are some things you should consider. HOW-TO: WIN BACK GOOD EMPLOYEES Continue to establish a line of communication. Keep the communication lines open with former employees, often referred to as alumni. This could be through LinkedIn, alumni networks, and/or an alumni newsletter. Be creative, but don't badger. Demonstrate value. This means giving something to your alumni community first that creates value, conversation, and discussion. Maybe it's a free resume writing class or webinar. Create value and put yourself in the shoes of your alumni network. What's important to them should be what you're writing/talking to them about. Build a rehire database. Just like a talent pipeline within your organization, your rehire community and database should include ratings, information, and insights from previous managers and management. Build your most wanted list and target your must hires and re-hires. Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is an author, speaker, HR professional, and workplace social media expert who has a passion for recruiting, training, and all things social media. She is the president/CEO of Xceptional HR and a leader in the HR community with more than 12 years of industry experience.

Countdown to ACA Compliance

by Jeanne Knutzen | August 19, 2014

0 Affordable Healthcare – ACA Smart, Legal Issues - Staffing ACA and contract staff, ACA and temporary staff, ACA compliance, ACA Definitions, ACA glossary, ACA vocabulary, Affordable Care Act and temporary staffing, Variable Hour Employees

Part I. A Glossary of “ACA Speak” With the employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act just around the corner (January 1st, 2015 for employers with 100+ FTEs), employers everywhere are facing the last round of ACA challenges. To make sure our clients and friends are tracking with ACA requirements, particularly those that impact their use of temporary or contract staff, we will be publishing a series of informational pieces about the ACA called “ACA Smart.” We will be identifying those provisions in the law that we know will drive up your staffing costs, but also the opportunities we see to drive down these costs by making adjustments in how temporary and contract staff are put to work. “ACA Smart” will also cover the operational policies we recommend employers put in place to protect themselves from unanticipated costs or penalties stemming from misguided co-employment protocols. In Part I of “ACA Smart,” we offer a dictionary of ACA terms - all those new words that will soon become part of the regulatory landscape. Key ACA Terms and Definitions Applicable Large Employer (ALE):  In 2015, refers to an employer with 100 or more full time equivalent employees. In 2016 will be adjusted to include employers with 50 or more full time equivalent employees. Only ALE’s are subject to the employer mandates and related penalties. Full Time Equivalent (FTE):  A term frequently used in the context of determining an employer’s size – the number of people they employee. When applied to a part-time or non-classified employee, it is used to determine what percentage of a full time employee each part-time worker represents. Employer Size:  The size of an employer’s workforce is determined by counting all full time employees and adding to that number a calculation of the aggregate number of FTEs stemming from part-time or non-classified (variable hour) employees. The FTE assigned to a part-time employee is calculated as a percentage of the number of hours actually worked during a month divided by 120 hours. For example, if a part-time employee works 110 hours, their FTE = .917 or 110 divided by 120. (Eligible) Full Time Employee:  Any employee who averages at least 30 hours per week (130 hours per month; 1560 hours per year). Only full time employees are required to be covered under ACA employer mandates. (Non-Eligible) Part-Time Employee:  Any employee who averages less than 30 hours per week (130 hours per month; 1560 hours per year). Part-time employees are not required to be covered by an employer, but must be included in a calculation of company. Seasonal Employees:  Employees working less than 120 days in a year for “seasonal” reasons. Seasonal employees are automatically excluded from ACA coverage. Variable Hour Employees:  Refers to employees who, at the time of hire, cannot reasonably be classified as either part or full time. Variable hour employees are classified as either part or full time depending on the number of hours actually worked during either an “initial” (IMP) or “standard measurement” period (SMP). Many temporary or contract workers, but not all, will be classified as “variable hour” employees depending on how the conditions of their assignment is described. Your staffing agency is responsible to classify each employee as full, part or variable hour at the point of hire. Ongoing Employee:  An employee who has been employed for at least one standard measurement period (SMP). Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC):  The requirement to be ACA compliant is a healthcare plan must cover certain healthcare basics – “the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease.” All individuals are required to purchase MEC compliant plans, unless they are covered by Medicare, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Programs (CHIPs) or a Veteran based plan that is automatically classified as MEC compliant. MEC plans are also referenced as “skinny” plans. Of note, is that most of the healthcare plans currently available for temporary or contract workers are “fixed indemnity plans” that do not meet MEC standards. Minimum Value Coverage (MVC):  The requirement to be ACA compliant is a healthcare plan must cover over at least 60% of the overall costs associated with, 1) physician and mid-level practitioner services, 2) hospital and emergency care, 3) pharmacy costs, and 4) laboratory/ imaging services. Of note, is that prior to the ACA, most employer plans had an actuarial value exceeding 85%. The lack of availability of 60% plans in the insurance marketplace is a significant issue for all employers focused on containing costs. Affordability:  Refers to the ACA requirement that the employee’s share of the costs associated with their purchase of a healthcare plan for themselves (not their spouse or family) can be no more than 9.5% of the employee’s gross income. If an employee earns $2,000 per month, (approx. $11.60/hr.), they cannot be asked to pay more than $190/month towards their healthcare plan in order for the plan to be considered “affordable.” A plan costing an employer $400/month will, therefore, require that employer to contribute $210/month. Play:  Refers to the decision an employer makes to offer a healthcare plan that provides Minimum Essential (MEC) coverage to 70% of its full time employees and their dependent children under age 26 in 2015, 95% in 2016. NOTE: 1) It is not mandatory to offer coverage for spouses, only dependent children under age 26 and 2) employers who “play” are still subject to penalties if:

  1. their plan is not affordable,
  2. they fail to offer the mandated coverage to the required percentage of eligible employees, or
  3. if they do not offer coverage that meets Minimum Value requirements.
Pay – “Failure to Offer” Penalties:  Refers to an employer’s decision not to offer a MEC qualified plans, making them subject to penalties for “failure to offer.” The “failure to offer” penalty is assessed on the basis of the number of employees in the employer’s workforce otherwise eligible to receive coverage. Pay – “Unaffordable or Minimum Value” Penalties:  Refers to the outcomes of an employer’s decision to offer insurance that is either “unaffordable” or that doesn’t meet minimum value requirements. This penalty is assessed against every employee who goes to a State Exchange and receives a subsidy. Administrative Period:  Refers to the days of employment within which an employer is required to offer an eligible employee the mandated benefits. For new full time employees the administrative period is 90 days. For ongoing employees in a standard measurement or look back period, the administrative period is 30 days. Initial Measurement Period (IMP):  References a period of time starting with the date of hire and ending at a defined date based on the length of the IMP. An IMP is applied only to “variable hour” employees where their classification as either a full or part-time employee is determined on the basis of actual hours worked during the IMP. Benefits, where required, are offered in accordance with the applicable classification at the end of the IMP. Initial measurement periods (sometimes referred to as look back periods) can be 3-12 months, with the specific length of the IMP set by the employer. Standard Measurement Period (SMP):  References a recurring method and time period used to determine whether an ongoing employee is full or part-time. The SMP is fixed, usually based on a calendar year and must be the same for all employees in the same category. Unlike an initial measurement period, the SMP is a reoccurring event that starts at a specified date each year, independent of hire date. IMPs and SMPs may overlap. The Stability Period:  The period of time from the point of benefit offer where the employee must be provided benefits/coverage regardless of how many hours actually worked. Stability periods can be no less than six months and must match the IMP or SMP if it is six months or longer. For example, if an employer elects a standard measurement period of 12 months, the stability period must also be 12 months. Exchanges:  The mechanism through which insurers will be able to offer small employers (less than 100 employees) and individuals the ability to purchase health insurance. If a state doesn’t provide an exchange, the federal government is required to do so. Washington State has an exchange. Subsidies:  The credits available to individuals who qualify for assistance in order to purchase insurance coverage through a state or federally operated Exchange. The subsidy is paid directly to insurance carriers as a way to lower the premium costs for eligible individuals. Employees earning anywhere from 100-400% of the “poverty” level can be eligible for subsidies depending on number of dependents. In part II of our “ACA Smart” series, we will be covering the specifics of the ACA penalties – when and how they are assessed. If you would like a personal conversation with a member of the PSN partnership team to better understand the ACA and its impact on your flexible workforce strategies, contact our info desk at 425-637-3312 or by emailing infodesk@pacestaffing.com. Make sure your subject line references the ACA or “ACA Smart.”