Your Plans for Hiring Military Personnel

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There's a growing movement to help our nations veterans find work. ERC Preferred Partner CareerCurve is interested in your organization’s plans related to attracting returning military personnel to employment opportunities. 

They are conducting a survey, as a precursor to offering support to those employers seeking to align their hiring process to meet the unique needs of veterans looking for civilian employment. Your response would be appreciated.

Please use the link below to participate in this survey:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CareerCurveMilitaryHiringSurveyYT8JQKV

Competition for Top Talent Rises; Proactive Approach is Recommended

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While unemployment across the country might be high, employers around Northeast Ohio might be surprised to learn that isn’t necessarily the case locally.

For example, the city of Mentor reported an unemployment rate of 5.8 percent for September, according to an article published in November of 2011 in The News-Herald.

“There’s a perception out there that the unemployment rate is so high,” said SueAnn Naso, President of Staffing Solutions Enterprises in Mayfield Heights. “The federal rate is what everybody hears, but when you drill down into different pockets in Northeast Ohio, we’ve got a lot of people back to work, and our rates are much better.”

For employers across the region, a lower unemployment rate means a more competitive market for top talent. Employers looking to hire the right talent for their organizations can no longer afford to sit back and wait for talent to come to them, said Dan Barnett, owner of Integrity Staffing Services in Twinsburg.

“Companies should be very proactive in planning,” Barnett said. “Most companies are reactive when it comes to hiring. Being proactive, understanding the marketplace, knowing what you’re looking for - organizations should take a look at their hourly wages and salary structures, especially in the manufacturing and distribution level with minimum wage going up at the beginning of 2012. Companies need to start reconsidering pay levels, even if they’re above  minimum wage. Otherwise, they’ll miss the opportunity to attract the top talent in the marketplace.”

For employers looking to improve their recruiting efforts, local help is available from such firms as Staffing Solutions and Integrity Staffing, which together comprise the Northeast Ohio Talent Alliance (NEOTA). Staffing Solutions primarily works with organizations to fill positions in the administrative, office, accounting, professional, and human resources sectors, while Integrity’s focus is on manufacturing , distribution and light industrial.

“Recruiting can be a very time-intensive process,” Naso said. “Many companies don’t experience a steady or constant need for recruiting – it goes up and down. Companies tend to staff internally at a certain level, but they need help when they hit those spikes. That cyclicality creates a need to have a solution. Recruiting firms are constantly recruiting because there’s always somebody who has a need. 

“We’re constantly building a database, constantly adding to the pool. That gives organizations a resource to tap into when they have those peaks.”

A local manufacturer recently found itself in that exact position. Having just ended a hiring freeze, the company didn’t have dedicated recruiting support internally and was uncertain about the number of hires it would have in 2011.

“Our client brought Staffing Solutions in to manage all their permanent hiring as an outsourced solution,” Naso said. “We ended up filling more than twice as many positions as originally estimated in half the time it would have taken them to fill the positions on their own.

“They also decided to outsource the management of their temporary staffing to us because it was becoming increasingly more challenging for one agency to fill all their needs. We’re currently managing five agencies to ensure we’re bringing the quality talent needed to meet their fluctuating temporary needs.”

Staffing Solutions and Integrity Staffing are Preferred Partners of ERC. Click here for more information about our partners. 

Career Centers: Key Stop for Internship Seekers

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Results from the 2011 ERC/NOCHE Intern & Recent Grad Pay Rates & Practices Survey indicate that career center services at colleges/universities remain the top resource utilized by Northeast Ohio companies to advertise internship opportunities.

According to the survey, which is conducted annually by ERC in collaboration with the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education (NOCHE), since 2009, over 60% of organizations consistently prefer the use of career centers compared to other sources utilized.

Other sources cited as commonly used include campus outreach (ex. career fairs, advertising), building relationships with college/university professors, as well as alumni contacts within these colleges/universities. 
This suggests that not only do college/university students dominate the internship workforce, but that utilization of their career centers is key to obtaining the internships they seek.

Research done here at ERC shows that career centers provide many benefits for both the employer and the potential intern.  For the employer, at minimum, most career centers offer job boards or an internal website to post internship opportunities.  For students, there are often a myriad of other services their career center offers to both help in their internship search, and in solidifying a career choice.

View the Intern & Recent Graduate Pay Rates & Practices Survey

This survey reports data from Northeast Ohio employers about their internship and recent graduate employment and pay practices.

View the Results

5 Costly HR Mistakes

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These common HR mistakes have very costly consequences for many businesses. Find out the symptoms of these mistakes and their warning signs and how to avoid them.

1. The one-person HR department.

Symptoms: HR functions are managed by individuals with no HR experience such as an Operations Manager, Office Manager, or a Controller. HR responsibilities are delegated to line managers.

Results: When the HR function is managed by individuals with other responsibilities, or those that haven’t been properly trained in HR, important tasks tend to fall through the cracks – like meeting compliance deadlines and keeping up with changing legal requirements and trends. The basics may be accomplished, but more strategic issues are overlooked.

Solutions: Training anyone involved in an HR function or responsibility on the basics of HR, outsourcing HR projects (i.e. compensation, benefits analysis, performance management process overhaul, training and development), and using experienced consultants to help with strategic issues are ways to support the one-person HR department.

2. Losing control of hiring and recruiting.

Symptoms: Your organization receives an unmanageable number of resumes, has hiring managers that ask their own interview questions or use biases to make selection decisions, is frequently rushed to hire anyone to fill a position – which oftentimes is not the best hire, or lacks a consistent method of selection (different candidates are evaluated on different criteria). Or, your hiring process may be so lengthy and inefficient and require so many individuals’ involvement, that candidates lose interest and patience.

Results: Your organization experiences new-hire turnover, turned down job offers, vacant positions, lost productivity, and low hiring manager and new-hire satisfaction. You may experience difficulty managing applications and resumes and overlook potential top talent. You put your organization at legal risk because selection is not based on objective and consistent criteria. You rush the process and end up with a poor hire which affects your bottom line and that you inevitably terminate.

Solutions: Investing in an applicant tracking system, training hiring managers in the basics of interviewing and selection, and developing standard hiring policies and processes are all ways to make your hiring process more efficient, consistent, and productive. Also, establish reasonable timelines for the hiring process and only include those that need to be involved. Lastly, make sure that you believe the person you are hiring is the best candidate for the job and will be a top performer. Don’t just hire to fill a spot – it is far more costly in the long run.

3. Not reviewing performance.

Symptoms: In light of not providing pay increases the past few years, your organization may have skipped its annual performance review. Or, your performance review process may be lackadaisical – reviews aren’t completed on time and supervisors don’t take them seriously. Your organization may not even have a formal method of reviewing performance.

Results: In turn, either a portion of your workforce or many of your employees don’t receive feedback about their progress, leading to disengagement and less productivity. Documentation about performance is lacking, so when you need to terminate someone, you’re at a loss. Measurement of performance may be questionable, especially if supervisors don’t take the process seriously, and this could affect other programs like variable pay. Employees are dissatisfied with how their performance is measured and consider the tool invalid.

Solutions: Reviewing performance annually (at a minimum) is important. Develop either a standard review form or goal setting process, and consider employees’ feedback in the development of the system for buy-in. Additionally, train your supervisors in performance management (especially conducting a performance review) and hold them accountable for performance management duties in their own reviews. Make the performance management process mandatory, but not cumbersome (i.e. too many reviews to do at once, too lengthy form, etc.).

4. Failing to know your competitors.

Symptoms: Your organization doesn’t invest any time in learning about or benchmarking other organizations’ pay, benefits, or workplace practices. It doesn’t track HR data or metrics. It doesn’t know who its competitors are in terms of talent.

Results: Job candidates turn down offers or provide direct feedback that pay or benefits are below that of other organizations. Voluntary turnover of employees is prevalent in certain pockets of your workforce or throughout the organization. You receive consistent complaints about pay, benefits, and development opportunities.

Solutions: Identify the organizations in which you compete for similar types of talent and define their industry, size, and location. Select a few sources of data that are most relevant to these organizations. Compare your internal data with the information in these sources. Use the data to make adjustments to your pay, benefits, and workplace practices.

5. Not protecting your business.

Symptoms: Your employee handbook hasn’t been updated in a few years. Compliance changes have been neglected, as have risk management and disaster recovery plans. You haven’t created succession, development, and staffing plans to assure that you have the right talent in place to meet short and long term business objectives. You don’t look at demographic trends that will impact your business – like retirements or family needs.

Results: Your organization finds that it can’t make termination or disciplinary decisions without legal risk because it lacks certain policies. You realize that you don’t have the right skills or competencies to meet your organizational objectives. One of your key leaders leaves and you don’t have anyone prepared to fill the missing role. An employee goes out on FMLA and no one has been cross-trained to fill their shoes.

Solutions: Create succession plans for key roles and create plans (with timelines) to develop individuals in your organization to take on these roles, such as leadership development training or preparation. Conduct an annual “skills inventory” each year of your employees and compare the results to your strategic objectives. Do you have the skills you need? For what skills do you need to develop or hire? Do you have back-ups cross-trained? Coordinate training and staffing plans with this inventory. Finally, update your employee handbook at least annually (and always after a change in employment law) and obtain an outsider’s perspective – such as a consultant or legal counsel. These individuals will be able to notice gaps or deficiencies in your policies and make recommendations to protect your business.

Additional Resources

HR Consulting & Project Support
ERC is a leading provider of quality, affordable HR consulting and project support services in Ohio. Our HR consulting services provide the crucial strategic and technical expertise needed to support your HR goals and workplace initiatives. Contact consulting@yourerc.com for more information.

Compensation & Benefits Surveys
ERC publishes many compensation and benefits surveys to help Northeast Ohio employers benchmark their pay and benefits practices.Our ERC Salary Survey, Wage Survey, and Executive Compensation Survey provide local pay information for over 300 positions.

Internships Growing in Northeast Ohio

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According to the results of the 2011 ERC/NOCHE Intern & Recent Grad Pay Rates & Practices Survey, more Northeast Ohio organizations are planning to grow or maintain internship programs compared to those planning to reduce or eliminate their interns.

Results from the 2009-2010 surveys, conducted annually by ERC in collaboration with the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education (NOCHE), highlight a trend in the overall percentage of organizations that plan to increase their number of hired interns from 23% in 2009 to 35% in 2011.  In addition, survey results show a steady decline in the number of organizations who plan to reduce or eliminate their internship programs over the same period.

Organizations Planning to Make Modifications to Internship Programs

Results also show that an increased percentage of organizations find value in hiring interns to (among other cited reasons) develop a talent pipeline, assist with special project work, test potential employees before hiring them, obtain affordable workforce support, increase exposure at local colleges and universities, and to improve retention of new college graduates in Northeast Ohio.

View the Intern & Recent Graduate Pay Rates & Practices Survey

This survey reports data from Northeast Ohio employers about their internship and recent graduate employment and pay practices.

View the Results

3 Steps to a Great First Impression with New Hires

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Remember your first day at your job? Did you feel excited? Did you feel welcome? Did you feel like the organization was prepared for your arrival and happy you were there? Or, did you leave that day with a serious case of “buyer’s remorse” thinking you made a terrible decision? Here are three simple steps to make sure you make a great first impression with your new hires!

Talk to new hires before day one.

What happens after a job candidate accepts an offer of employment? Does anyone speak to that person again before his or her start date? If not, consider doing a few little things between the job offer and the new hire’s first day to reinforce that he or she made a great decision to come work for your organization. Send a note of congratulations, flowers, gifts, or logo items to the person’s home. Have the person’s supervisor or future co-workers reach out and offer a congratulations. Send a schedule for the new hire’s first day or even first few weeks of employment including a list of items and information they may need. Send paperwork that can be completed prior to the first day to make sure the new hire’s time is more productive starting on day one. Make that person feel like he or she just made one of the best decisions of their life.

Be ready on day one.

Have you ever showed up for your first day on a new job and you didn’t have a desk, a phone, business cards, pens or pencils, or any idea who you needed to meet with, for how long, or for what? If so, then you already know that the fastest way to make a person start second-guessing their decision to work for you is to make them feel invisible on day one! You should be ready for your new hires when they walk in the door. Plus, the better prepared you are, the faster you can get that new employee trained and actually contributing to your organization.

Talk to new hires after day one.

Check in at 30, 60, and/or 90 days. Conduct a “new-hire survey” to see if the experience of your new-hires during the recruiting process prepared them for your workplace culture and performance expectations. Ask for suggestions. Use the information you collect to help improve your recruiting processes, communications, and interviewer skills. Make your employees feel like they aren’t just special when they’re being recruited or on their first day – reinforce that they, and their opinions, are important from here on out.

You don’t get a second opportunity to make a great first impression, but when you’re proactive and well prepared for your new hires, you can create opportunities to make many great impressions throughout the recruiting, hiring, and orientation process.

Other Resources:

HR University: Orientation & Performance Management Practices
New employees at your organization need to understand their role, what’s expected of them, and how this fits into your business. Going forward, they’ll need feedback on how they’re doing, in order to reinforce positive behaviors and discourage negative ones. This session will cover the basic steps of a thorough orientation process, how HR can help supervisors manage their direct reports’ performance, and what to do when a performance management program needs adjusting.

Survey Shows Trends in Local Hiring Metrics

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The 2011 ERC Hiring & Selection Practices Survey shows several trends in hiring metrics such as time to fill, time to start, cost of hire, offer acceptance rates, and vacancy rates that help employers benchmark their hiring practices against other local organizations.

The survey’s results show that the average time to fill an open position is 52 days. Positions with the highest average time to fill were executive, engineering, and management positions, while positions with the lowest time to fill were production, maintenance, customer service, and administrative/clerical jobs.

Additionally, the 2011 survey reports that the average time to start is 14 days for employers. This timeframe was consistent across most employers. This reflects the average number of days between offer acceptance and the employee’s first day on the job. Lower vacancy rates were reported by employers of 11 days on average.

The 2011 survey’s results also indicate the average cost of hire for respondent, which is $2,233.

8 Resources Every HR Professional Should Know About

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We’ve compiled a collection of eight (8) of our favorite HR resources – free comprehensive tools and information that many of our members find valuable for common tasks like staying compliant, administering FMLA, or finding and supporting employees.

1. Staying Legally Compliant

The Department of Labor (DOL) offers a variety of e-law Advisors, interactive tools that provide information about a number of federal employment laws. Employers typically find these tools very helpful in providing greater understanding of compliance and employment law information. Specific e-law Advisors include FLSA, H1-B, Health Benefits Advisor, OSHA, Drug Free Workplace, Contractor Compliance, and more. Similarly, the DOL also provides an Employment Law Guide that helps employers create policies for their handbook.

2. Accommodating Employees

Employers frequently need to support employees through difficult conditions and circumstances. Whether you’re accommodating employees to be compliant or to better support employees as you create a great place to work, the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is an ideal resource that provides ideas and examples on what level of accommodations and flexibility are appropriate for different situations. It also helps employers better understand a variety of disabilities and psychological/medical conditions that impact their workforce.

3. Administering FMLA

Leave administration, particularly FMLA, is one of employers’ greatest responsibilities and challenges. Employers are frequently looking for resources surrounding administration of this law to help them administer it. This site is one of our members’ favorites as it highlights all of the most common forms, fact sheets, and general guidance for administering family medical leave required by the law.

4. Creating and Updating Job Descriptions

O*Net is a comprehensive, free resource for job analysis and job description information. It provides detailed information including a summary of a job, alternate job titles, tasks, tools and technology used, knowledge, skills, abilities, work activities, and work context. It even contains information on interests, work styles, work values, wages and employment trends, and education/training requirements relevant to a specific job. The tool is useful for employers that are creating job descriptions and supports a range of other HR functions like hiring and performance management. The Dictionary of Occupational Job Titles is also another ideal resource for job related information, included within O*Net.

5. Developing Employees

Career One-Stop has all the components of a comprehensive career development service (without the cost). Employees can explore careers, assess themselves, write job descriptions, evaluate and profile their skills, and find developmental programs and resources. This tool, as well as the Ohio Workforce Informer, Riley Guide, and BLS Career Guide to Industries, are other valuable career development tools for employees to utilize when developing themselves and can complement employers’ career development programs.

6. Staffing and Workforce Planning

Employers often seek information about local employment trends that impact their business for staffing and workforce planning purposes. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) provides ideal national information for this purpose, most organizations don’t realize that the state of Ohio provides a labor market website that details information about local employment trends and projections, current employment statistics, supply and demand, and skills/training. In addition, Ohio Means Jobs is a free website to search for candidates and post jobs that also helps employers recruit and staff.

7. Auditing Wage & Hour Practices

FLSA compliance is one of ERC’s most common questions and an area where many employers may find themselves non-compliant. In the event of a Wage & Hour audit, the DOL provides a checklist of items requested. This checklist is not only ideal for organizations being audited by the DOL, but also for those that want to prepare for an audit. You can download this checklist here.

8. Posting Requirements

The DOL makes posting requirements available to employers including information about what organizations must post, citations and penalties, and other information. Click here to view these requirements. Employers can also download PDF posters on this site.

In conclusion, the Department of Labor and other governmental agencies can offer free resources and support for your organization. With vast amounts of information, online tools, free training and webinars, and access to experts, they can be very helpful for employers and particularly HR departments – often in ways that many organizations don’t anticipate.

Additional Resources

HR Training
Gain even more crucial skills and resources to be successful in your HR role through various ERC HR training courses. For more information on these informative training courses which cover all aspects of HR including employment law, compensation, benefits, performance management, orientation, communication, please click here. To view other upcoming HR programs, click here.

HR Help Desk
ERC’s Help Desk staff is exceptional at working with governmental agencies to answer employers’ questions, resolve problems, and locate information, resources, and forms to meet your needs – especially when you don’t have time to do the research yourself. Just e-mail hrhelp@yourerc.com for assistance.

HR Practices
Benchmark how your HR practices compare to other Northeast Ohio employers by participating in our Policies and Benefits Survey. This survey covers benefits, compensation, recruiting, hiring, communication, training, development, and safety practices. Click here to participate.

Other HR Resources
In addition to resources discussed in this article, ERC members enjoy an array of additional resources related to compensation, benefits, and policy information; HR Help Desk service, sample forms, job descriptions, and policies; cost-savings (and free services provided by some of our Preferred Partners); and more. Click here to find out more about the benefits of being an ERC member.

 

Hiring & Selection Practices Survey Results

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This report summarizes the results of ERC’s survey of 117 organizations in Northeast Ohio, conducted in February of 2011, on practices related to hiring and selection.

The survey reports trends in:

  • General selection methods
  • Reference, background, and credit checks
  • Drug tests
  • Employment tests
  • Pre-screening interviews
  • Hiring decisions
  • Sign-on and employee referral bonuses
  • Introductory periods
  • Hiring metrics
  • Hiring projections

 

11-Hiring-Selection-Practices-Survey.pdf (174.54 kb)

Interviewing Tips: What to Say and Ask (PDF)

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When conducting an interview, employers and their hiring managers need to keep in mind what to say and what not to say and ask in an interview to stay legal, attract great talent, and make good hiring decisions.

We've compiled a list of What to Say, What and What Not to Ask, How to Ask and How to Close. Click below to download the PDF:

Download: Interviewing Tips: What to Say and Ask (PDF)

Additional Resources

Interviewing Skills Training

To learn more about interviewing, including legal issues, effective questions, planning and evaluation strategies, and actual practice in preparing and delivering interviews, consider attending ERC’s upcoming workshop on “Interviewing Skills for Managers & Supervisors.” For more information or to register, please click here. Or, for interviewing training delivered on-site and customized to your organization’s needs, please contact ckutsko@yourerc.com.