Winning the War on Employee Attraction!

Companies today are so interesting to me… we hide stuff. We hide important stuff. We hide what makes us a fantastic place to work from people who may want to work for us! Kinda silly, huh?

Have you ever looked for a new role or maybe you’ve been approached about an opportunity and you begin your own due diligence (if you don’t do this, you should… I’ll write a different blog on this topic) to determine: 1. Is this a place I want to work? 2. What benefits do they offer? 3. What’s the culture like? 4.What does the office look like? 5. Do they have fun? Do they do charitable work?6. What are their top leaders like? 7. How long have people been there? 8. What does the interview process entail?

These are just some of the questions that potential talent may be asking themselves. Glassdoor is a fantastic tool that allows for a lot of these questions to be answered, but only if you manage it. You don’t need a paid account to manage your company’s Glassdoor, you just need an Employer Account (which is fairly easy to obtain). Feedback, good and bad, is inevitable and you don’t want to run from it. Using Glassdoor, you can reply to all reviews, you can tell your side of the “story” and you can paint a picture of what it’s like to work at your organization. It always baffles me when companies ignore this tool… it’s not going anywhere… embrace it and use it to grow (or at the very least, to manage your employer brand and reputation)!

More than external sites, though, internal careers pages usually leaves a lot to be desired. Now, there are big exceptions… one that comes to mind, which I think is awesome:

Adobe! (you can click the link to see it)

Why I love it:

The use of videos! As a potential employee, I want to hear and see what it would be like to work there… right from employees themselves. I want to get excited about the office. I want to know if these are “my people”. They have a number of videos (really well done), but any video would be great! Grab your smart phone and shoot… let the potential talent see who you are (and if you don’t want them to, you may need to ask yourself why and seriously consider an overhaul).

Benefits! (Click “Benefits” to be redirected to entire benefits portal) Now, if you’re a small company or just don’t want/can’t have the expense, you don’t need a whole portal… but do follow their lead, give information about your benefits. This allows prospective employees to do research and determine if your benefits plan is attractive (to them). It also provides excitement. You’re “peeking behind the curtain” as a potential employee and it feels good to be in the know.

Get Social! There is nothing less appealing to the majority of today’s workers than a company that doesn’t embrace social media. Job seekers want to see your parties, they want to read about your wins, they want to see office candid’s, they want to engage with you… let them!

Locations! For goodness sake, put your address(es). Prospective talent want to know where you are! “Los Angeles” is a big city/county… are you in Cerritos or are you in Thousand Oaks (the difference is ASTRONOMICAL). Maybe your talent will have to relocate… they want to start picturing themselves living there, they want to see if they can afford housing, they want to research schools, they want to know where the closest Starbucks is… this is great for you as an employer. The prospective talent is exuding “buying signs”… you won’t know it… but they are. They are mentally joining your company and that is critical. By giving them access to details you are creating engagement (and you aren’t even doing much yet), you’re building loyalty, you’re getting folks literally ready to “hit the floor running”. Imagine what that will do for their ramp up time once they’re hired? And, even if they aren’t hired, they had an amazing experience… and that builds positive word of mouth (or positive reviews on sites like: Glassdoor, Indeed, Yelp, etc…).

These are just a few ideas to Win the War on Talent Attraction… what do you do that creates a positive impression for candidates and for your employer brand?

What Makes a Company Best?

My company recently was named a “Best Place to Work” and while some of these awards are political, where cash and sponsorship are king and winning means you have a lot of “influence”, we won because our entire Louisville team participated in a survey conducted by Quantum Workplace (an independent firm that, in addition to conducting surveys, works to make the work place “more awesome”, which I think is pretty darn neat).

Whenever your employees are “anonymously” asked to do a survey on whether or not your work place is “the best”, there can be some apprehension… Have we made this a best place to work? You may even go through a “Should we even apply”? phase. Rejection can hurt, even at work.

What I’ve found makes you “Best” is pretty simple and lessons I learned long ago during my Dale Carnegie days…

1. Show genuine interest in other people. Look, I work in HR and because of this I’ve had to grow “cold and dead inside”. That may sound shocking to you, but we often have to handle the worst of the worst related to our employees. Heartbreaking FMLA stories, unimaginable life events that impact work, layoffs and the despair that can come with losing your job, aiding and often directly performing terminations (people cry, people yell, people throw things, people hate you)… as a way to cope, I (and many of my fellow HR colleagues) have to stay as emotionally unattached as possible, so we can carry on, or as I like to say “cold and dead inside”.

Now, you may be wondering where I am going with this… what does genuine interest in other people and being cold and dead inside have to do with one another. Well, I have known many a transactional HR person who have completely lost their human touch. They are robots who coldly recite policy and input benefits information. They aren’t advocates for employees, they don’t show genuine interest in anyone and aren’t the culture builders that they should be.

Am I picking on HR a little, yes… because “HR” is old. “Talent” is new and “Talent” leaders care and show genuine interest in others. “HR” isn’t a four letter word at my company, myself along with the entire senior team show genuine interest (and can turn on/off emotional detachment) and that makes us “Best”. 

2. Remember that a person’s name is the sweetest most wonderful sound in the world. Our CEO and really, our entire Senior Team, knows everyone from our newest team members to those who’ve been with us for 10 years. When we have events at work or when we pass by folks in the hallway, you’ll always here a “Hello <name>, how’s it going”? Do you know that I will often get a look of surprise when I address someone I don’t see regularly, by name. A look of “you know me”? I know that this person will feel good and important for at the very least, the rest of the day.

As a Talent leader, this is important to me… When you show genuine interest in others, they’re more likely to talk to you, to confide in you, to participate in events, to be loyal to the company, to work even more smartly. A simple thing like addressing each person by name makes us “Best”. 

3. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves. We all know the type… organizational leaders who only speak, but never listen. They get up on their soap box and what they say is gold. And that’s it… no debate. No varying opinions. Just “hear me, hear me”.

As a “Best” leader, you know you don’t know everything. You rely on the smart people you’ve assembled to speak and you listen when they do. As a Talent leader, this is critical. You can ascertain so much about your culture, the state of your employees happiness, and issues that may be arising by simply observing and listening when others speak, by asking open ended questions, by digging a little deeper when you hear something of interest. It’s not just self serving though, it also makes the person you’re listening to feel important, feel heard, feel valued.This creates loyalty, this fosters an environment where open communication and transparency isn’t just a “value” written on your walls and your website… it becomes real and your company becomes “Best”. 

4. Throw down a challenge. I’ve often found that there are huge misconceptions about the “general” workforce. I’ve heard former CEO’s and other top leaders describe their employees as “lazy”, as “not innovative”, as “lacking creativity when it comes to problem solving”… and what’s funny is that I have found the opposite to be true. If you have a big problem and it needs to be solved, and nothing you seem to do is working… bring a mixed group of team members together… from various areas of the business and watch the magic.

When you throw down a challenge and you want results, step outside of the box. Go against the “norm” and be open to acting on the ideas that come out of it. Sometimes the most absurd sounding solution may be the one that revolutionizes your business AND it may come from the most unlikely source. In my nearly 17 years of experience in the “People” space I can tell you that employees who are lazy, not innovative and not problem solvers are the exception, not the rule. The majority want to be inspired and inspiring. Want to contribute ideas to make the business better, but oftentimes their suggestions fall on deaf ears. The “Best” don’t let that happen. They collaborate will all levels of the business, they bring in folks from across the organization to solve problems and they ACT on the ideas that make sense. The team members then feel a sense of ownership, pride and loyalty because they have seen that they CAN make a difference. 

And finally…

5. Be lavish in your praise. I subscribe to the “go big or go home” philosophy and apply it in the areas of praise and recognition. Starting with regular and actionable performance reviews, which don’t just do a gloss over or assign arbitrary numbers, but provide an opportunity for growth, advancement or re-direction. This is critical and often seen as just a “formality” when in reality employees WANT it. People, generally, WANT to know what they’re doing right, what they could be doing better and what will get them to the next level.

When we have something to celebrate at work, like we recently did with being named a “Best Place to Work”… some companies choose to just “win” and get their press release out and not celebrate it with the organization. One former CEO once told me “it’s just a local award, it doesn’t even matter”… well, that’s where the misconception is. It does matter. Everything matters. Wins should be celebrate, losses should be learned from. Our team members work smartly and make it easy for us to lavishly praise them, but they do it because they feel valued. They do it because we (the senior leaders) show genuine interest in them. They do it because we take the time to know who they are. They do it because we listen. They do it because we challenge them. That’s what makes us “Best”. 

So, what makes you “Best”?

Hire Me: Getting that Next Position!

As an approachable leader and champion for both the multifamily industry and my company, I’m asked almost daily how to get to the next level. They’ve taken classes, have a degree, a designation or two and yet their career with their current company is at a standstill. Professionals want to grow, to make more money, to be challenged, to feel like they’re making a contribution, to make their mark… but they’re often unsure about how to find a new position.

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Who I am, Who I’m Not and Who I Want to Be!

I was listening to The Fray this morning and one of my favorite songs of theirs (though I really do like them all) is You Found Me.

In that song is a verse that really speaks to me and inspired me to write today’s blog, it is:

“Who I am, Who I’m Not and Who I Want to Be”

And it got me thinking about those things and how easy it is to not really know… especially in a business that WANTS YOU to be so many things… it’s easy to lose yourself. Sounds ominous, right? It really isn’t… it’s about self discovery and your true professional passion. Let me explain…

 

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Confessions of a Virtual Employee

I’m not new to the virtual workplace but I’m new to working for my current company, virtually and I have a confession to make…

I’m WAY more productive at my home office than at our corporate office. Shocked? In disbelief? Think I’m not exactly being truthful? Well, then do let me explain and I’ll make you a believer!

When I’m working from my home office, I’m doing just that… working from a HOME OFFICE. I’m not in bed; I’m not watching TV… I’m at my desk just like a “real” employee. What I don’t have is:

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The Frustrations of a Trainer… and What WE Can Do Better!

I hadn’t been in Multifamily housing in a few years… instead I left and worked with the Dale Carnegie Training Organization, honing my craft and providing training solutions and direction to businesses across the globe. I was, however, eager to get back to my first love… the Apartment Industry!

Things hadn’t really changed much… on one hand, I was glad, because I could get right back into the swing of the “business” without missing a beat on the other hand, I couldn’t believe that evolution hadn’t really happened. It was “the same old”…

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Computer Illiterate? Seek Help!

Let’s face it… the internet is NOT a fad (sorry Al Gore) and the role both the internet and computers play in our business is vast and ever growing. Let’s take a look at what parts of our business are computer and/or internet based:

• Communication (with Colleagues & Prospects)- Email, usually Outlook is used in our business
• Learning Management Systems- Does your company offer online learning?
• Property Management Software- On our computers and generally on the internet
• Social Media
• Rent Payments- A good portion of us allow residents to pay online
• Advertising- Our biggest source of traffic, in a lot of instances is apartments.com
• Weekly/Monthly Reports- Excel and Word play a big role in how we relay information
• Performance Appraisals- Many are integrated into our HRIS systems, which are internet based
• Payroll Time Tracking- Does anyone use a manual system anymore?
• New Colleague Orientation- Unless your company is 100% local, the internet is often used
• Accounting- Most accounting departments use our property management software in conjunction with computer and/or internet based financial software
• Payroll- The majority of us rely on Direct Deposit, which uses a computer to transmit.

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Customer Service Isn’t Just Dead… It was MURDERED!

I hate being reminded that general common courtesy (as well as common sense, a lot of the time) is just NOT common anymore. I’m left, after numerous interactions and transactions on a daily basis, scratching my head wondering where the service is. Is it just acceptable now to provide sub-par service? Is it OK to be rude to a customer? Is it just no longer a focus of companies to provide training for and more so, demand their employees provide good service? I’m truly beginning to wonder.

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A Roadmap to Success? One Girl’s Journey to Make On-Boarding Better!

December 29th, 1998. It was my first day of “real” work. I was now a professional… trading in my costumes (I was Cinderella at Disneyland and Marilyn Monroe at Universal Studios), for suits and business attire (which I bought at places like Wet Seal and Clothestime)… hey, I was only 18!

I was psyched! I was a “grown up” now… and to boot, I had a 50% rent discount at a very nice community (my primary motivation for becoming a Leasing Consultant, by the way).

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