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How you manage talent spells the difference between success and failure. To gain a competitive edge, leaders must be prepared to address shifting economic, social and demographic trends that impact workforce performance. Stay informed with research, insights and advice from our leading industry experts. The world of work is changing. Is your company ready?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Multiple Job Hopping Hurdles

New research from Right Management found that prospective employers in North America are more likely to have reservations about a candidate’s multiple past jobs than companies in any other part of the world.

Participating in the survey were more than 2,000 internal and external recruiters, human resource executives and hiring managers from 17 countries representing more than 20 industry sectors. The survey explored trends in recruitment as well as factors that influence hiring decisions.

In many cases there were just marginal differences among North American, European or Asian respondents. But when it came to multiple jobs we found statistically significant differences, with Canada and the U.S. most resistant to candidates that come across as job hoppers. That was a surprise since we figured American and Canadian managers were more aware than most of the job market turmoil of the past decade or more.

Hiring Implications for a Candidate with Multiple Jobs
(Percentage of respondents expressing reservations)
  • 57% North America
  • 50% Asia Pacific
  • 38% Europe
  • 50% Global average

Having numerous former positions should not by itself disqualify a job candidate. Certainly many job changes would have to be explained if the individual gets to the interview. Indeed, 41% of respondents globally said they would not regard multiple jobs negatively if the overall experience is relevant to the position. Other respondents would take into account whether the candidate is in the early or middle career stage in which case frequent job changes are more common.

In a downturned economy it is common for people to take on project and temporary work. And with sizeable growth of contract and temporary employees anticipated in the next five years (see next page), candidates with experience in multiple jobs is a reality to which hiring managers will need to adjust.

Do you have reservations about hiring candidates who impress as job-hoppers?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Employee Turnover Expected to Rise in Next Five Years

Employee turnover is expected to increase worldwide during the next five years, according to a global survey we at Right Management recently conducted with more than 2,000 internal and external recruiters, human resource executives and hiring managers from 17 countries. Only 14% of respondents globally anticipated a decrease in employee turnover.

Half the survey respondents globally expect higher turnover. About a third foresee no change, and a minority a decrease…all of which points to greater turnover than organizations have been used to dealing with in the past decade.

Expectations of Higher Turnover in Next Five Years
(Percentage anticipating slight or significant increase)

  • 59% North America
  • 58% Asia Pacific
  • 41% Europe
  • 49% Global Average

There’s no such thing as typical or average turnover. Turnover varies widely from industry to industry. Moreover, some turnover is healthy, but high turnover is a top concern for all organizations everywhere. Yet, unless current expectations are wrong, most employers are soon going to have to cope with more loss of talent and know-how, greater recruitment and training costs, and all the turmoil entailed with people leaving and waiting for their replacement. And aside from the tangible costs, organizations may lose business opportunities as well as momentum, and the constant departures undermine the trust and engagement of remaining workers.

Employers really need to make greater efforts at identifying and retaining key contributors. Even high turnover may be manageable if an employer is able to keep most of the best workers.

Are you focused on retaining your top-performers?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Tuning in to Employees’ Top Priorities

Despite workplace pressures and slow growth for compensation, greater opportunity for career advancement is the number one priority sought by employees in their next position. Right Management polled 561 North American workers via an online survey and asked:

What is your highest priority in your next position?
  • 27% Greater opportunity for advancement
  • 21% Better management team
  • 21% More flexible work environment
  • 17% Better compensation
  • 14% Less work pressure

We posed a classic question to today’s workers, what they’re really looking for in their next job. We wondered if higher comp would top the list, or perhaps less workplace stress, but we found that opportunity for advancement is number one. That tells us that despite all the workplace complaints we hear most employees are still highly motivated about their own development and careers.

Higher compensation and less work pressure trailed other concerns including quality of management. The second highest priority among respondents is a better management team, which may mean either more competent leaders or more considerate bosses, a finding that’s common in a workplace poll such as this. This is a variant of the truism that people quit their bosses, not their companies, and it’s a key lesson for all organizations when there’s strong competition to attract and retain quality talent.

But senior management’s main interest ought to be how to engage employees during a weak economy. The most recent Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is for continued sluggish hiring across most industries. Employee turnover has been remarkably slow for the past two years, and everyone is itching for new horizons. In fact, many workers feel trapped in their current situation. Now that’s bad for everyone concerned and the savvy employer will make strenuous efforts to vary people’s tasks and responsibilities, to shuffle work teams, to do cross-team training…to do whatever is needed to demonstrate real commitment to career development and to counter a pervasive sense of career stagnation among their employees.

Some organizations are surely on top of the problem, but I’m afraid too many aren’t. Are you tuned in to what your employees want from you most?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lending a Helping Hand to Job Seekers

It’s human nature that people want to help people. So it was no surprise to learn from a recent Right Management study of 528 North American workers that nine out of ten employees are willing to help a friend or acquaintance search for a new job. In fact, most of them have done so in the past year.

The survey found that people who already have jobs are nearly always prepared to give time or other support to those who ask it. The finding has never been truer than today based on our experience as career advisors. Unemployment is high and so is overall dissatisfaction in the workplace, according to recent research. Job seekers include both unemployed and employed who are looking for better opportunities. The good news is that they may rely on people’s genuine willingness to help in their hunt for a new position.

A clear majority of jobs are found via person-to-person contact, not the Internet or job boards. Another of Right Management’s studies found that as many as two out of three jobs come by way of networking, where people in one’s network help to put the job seekers in touch with others who may also be able to help. This is a key fundamental of effective job searching. The new finding indicates that the job seekers will almost always receive positive responses from people whom they contact.

Job seekers should ask for insight into specific organizations or industries. The job search is all about approaching individuals to build a network of more people who may be able to help. It’s a continuous process, person-to-person to the next person. The goal is to get names and contact information in order to go the next step. This works because people are disposed to help, even if they themselves don’t happen to know of a suitable opening. But they’ll often know of someone who may be able to help in the process.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Many Employers Unaware of Veterans’ Skills

Many prospective employers have little appreciation of the strong skills that military veterans bring to civilian organizations. In my experience as a military veteran and talent consultant, employers sometimes think military experience is narrow or not easily transferred to a business setting. But veterans have a remarkable range of competencies and abilities of great potential value to today’s organization. The challenge has become one of changing some perceptions, or communicating with civilian recruiters and hiring managers the facts about veterans’ transferable skills.

Veterans generally have the inherent and learned ability to adapt to any new work setting. They tend to possess exceptional communication and leadership skills, a strong work ethic and the positive expectation they will function efficiently and effectively.

Based on the work we have been doing in helping to transition veterans to employment in the U.S. and Canada, we see that employers have a number of reasons to hire veterans:

  • Work Ethic – Companies want men and women who work hard and have a service-oriented attitude, and most ex-military candidates find this easy to do.

  • Accelerated Learning Curve – Veterans have a proven ability to learn new skills and concepts rapidly, entering the workforce with identifiable and transferrable skills, proven in real-world situations. This background can enhance an organization’s productivity.

  • Respect for Procedures – Ex-military have gained a unique perspective on the value of accountability and can easily grasp their place within an organizational framework, becoming responsible for subordinates’ actions in relation to higher supervisory levels. They know how policies and procedures enable an organization to function.

  • Performance Under Pressure – Veterans understand the rigors of tight schedules and limited resources and have developed capacities to know how to accomplish priorities on time, in spite of high stress.

  • Leadership – The military trains people to lead by example as well as through direction, delegation, motivation and inspiration. Veterans know the dynamics of leadership as part of both the hierarchical and peer structures.

Veterans seeking civilian employment to identify transferrable skills and abilities that can be applied equally from one job to another and communicate these to prospective employers.

As the corporate world continues to struggle with a looming leadership shortfall, shifting demographics and a growing gap between needed and available skills it makes sense to take a close look at returning veterans.