Digital Transformation of Work & Wellbeing – @SHRMLabs Report

I got invited recently to be a part of a think tank of sorts on a project with SHRM Labs and Techstars Workforce Development Accelerator discussing what technologies are needed to help navigate the new digital world of work. What the heck does that mean? Good question!

If you haven’t checked out SHRM Labs they are doing some amazing work around innovation, technology, and work. Led by Guillermo Corea, SHRM is working to take a leading stance on the technology that is built for HR. This isn’t your grandmother’s SHRM! Shout out to Hadeel El-Tashi, she has been amazing as well on the SHRM Labs team.

Basically, we have three types of worker environments right now:

  • Full On-Premise work
  • Hybrid
  • Full Remote

Full on-premise work we’ve been trying to build tech and processes around wellbeing for a long time. To limited success, for sure, but still, it’s been a long focus for technologists and HR for decades. Hybrid and Full Remote, while not new, were limited in use, so the focus was not there, then the pandemic thing happened and this had to ramp up really fast.

What we found is there are limited options for organizations to truly and robustly support their team’s well-being when they work remotely and in hybrid scenarios. Here’s the basis of the report:

This report highlights participants’ voices on each of these points. It proposes ways to foster work/life integration in remote- and hybrid work environments, followed by an exploration of elements that constitute a great employee experience and effective employee culture, closing with a discussion of how companies can attract (and retain) the best talent in the face of a tight labor market and the Great Resignation.

You can download the report here

What were our main findings:

  1. All organizations need to find ways to embrace flexibility in the workplace. Not just white-collar workers, but all workers. Flexibility and “All” is a difficult undertaking.
  2. Give employees agency and develop accountability. I call this one, treating employees like adults, but smarter people in the think tank had better words than me!
  3. Drive efficiency and asynchronous communication tools. Stop the non-stop stream of zoom meetings thinking that’s how you’ll communicate effectively with hybrid and remote workers.
  4. Personalize benefits and improve the employee experience. We still deliver benefits mostly like it’s 1970. Everyone gets a 401K match, even if that’s not your priority and you have student loans or want to buy your first house. Or we offer student loan repayment, but you graduated thirty years ago and paid off your loans, twenty-five years ago. One size fits most, is a crappy experience.

We also had findings around building digital culture and attracting more workers – you can download the report to check those out.

Overall, we’ve got work to do in HR as a total function, including TA, Talent Management, Learning, Benefits and Compensation, etc. This is invigorating for the field and there are so many passionate technologists in our space trying to help us develop great solutions for our issues.

I’ve been studying the technology in our space for the past decade and I’m always amazed that the process of what we need and what’s available is ever-evolving. The pandemic while awful, has opened up the world of work in ways we’ve been pushing to make happen for decades with little movement, then this tipping point happened and it’s like HR is being reinvented all over again.

It’s an amazing time to be in our profession!

Scarcity and authenticity are powerful!

I get asked multiple times a day about how organizations can find more talent. The desperation in today’s world around this one topic is concerning. People are losing their jobs and their well-being over it. Corporate recruiter experience is at an all-time low.

The formula for hiring and attracting talent has not changed and it won’t change. Like anything we desire in the world, it comes down to scarcity and authenticity. That being said, that is also extremely difficult to provide to a job seeker.

Why?

99.99% of us can’t present our jobs in a scarce way. Google can, you can’t. Turns out, you’re not Google.

There are very, very few of us who have the luxury of working for a brand that almost anyone would kill to work for. The unicorn brands, as I like to call them. These brands can create scarcity around their jobs. This scarcity feeds upon itself, where candidates will go to extraordinary lengths to get noticed for a job, just trying to get their “foot in the door”.

The “authenticity” part is where we in the 99.99% of us can fight back!

Whether you are big or small, if you have a non-unicorn brand, we can always be super authentic. It’s harder for those running the scarcity game to do this because part of the game is to have some mystery behind door one.

To be able to leverage your job postings with videos from potential co-workers, the hiring manager, and an executive giving deep insight and understanding of your jobs and brands can be something very powerful to pull in more talent.

Can you combine these? Yes, but you rarely ever see it. Mainly because if you’re lucky enough to achieve scarcity around your jobs, you feel like what do we really gain? We already have almost all the candidates we want, why do the extra work for a small incremental increase.

The key is you have to do one or the other really well. One you control, one you don’t.

What I find is too many organizations act like they have scarcity when they don’t. And almost none of the organizations that should be killing authenticity actually do it.

The formula didn’t change.

You’re Not Smart Enough To Do That!

Don’t you think we should be IQ Testing certain individuals before they can move forward in certain life events? Let me give you some examples:

Things that should require an IQ Test before you are allowed to do them:

  1. Have and Raise Children.
  2. Posting on Social Media Platforms.
  3. Operating any type of vehicle that goes over 15 mph.
  4. Being able to mass email the entire company.
  5. Ordering a drink at Starbucks
  6. Investing in Crypto, stocks, real estate, basically any investment idea you can’t explain to me in one minute.
  7. Getting through TSA and boarding a plane.
  8. Joining an organized religion.
  9. Running for political office.
  10. Running with scissors.

On the flip side, there are a lot of things we shouldn’t be testings someone’s IQ:

  1. Most jobs.
  2. Filling out taxes in America. Do you mean that thing the government already knows the exact amount you owe, but they make you go through hell and back to figure out the same number?
  3. Attending college.
  4. Having civility towards others.
  5. Setting up email on your new cell phone.
  6. Streaming tv shows and movies on any device.
  7. Logging onto to wifi.
  8. Understanding extended warranties.
  9. Getting your medical care paid for.
  10. Navigating the college financial aid system.

Here’s what we are fairly confident about when it comes to selecting talent for organizations, in terms of what matters and what doesn’t. The most important factor in determining if someone will succeed or not follows this pattern:

#1. Job Sample. Simply put this is some sort of job preview assessment in which the person does a real portion of the job. Turns out, that if a person can do the job, that is the number one indicator that they can do the job!

#2. Cognitive Ability. Now you might think, “Oh, this is IQ!” And in a way you’re right. The second most correlated factor to job success is a person’s ability to be able to quickly understand and learn the job. So, it’s not all about smarts, but that certainly plays into it.

#3. Desire to do the job. Yeah, people who want to do the job you have, well, that tends to be a high predictor of success in doing the job! That makes sense. You can have someone who can do the job and learns quickly, but they hate the job. Those folks won’t be successful.

Therein lies a big problem we have in hiring and selecting people for jobs. Most of us don’t have a job sample type of assessment. Instead, we have flawed people (all of us) interviewing flawed people (all candidates) and making an assessment through our conscious and unconscious bias on who will be the best hire. And don’t even get started on the witchcraft science that is personality assessments!

So, how can we hire better people?

Knowing that job samples are hard to set up, hard to administer, and expensive, the most predictive thing you can do is institute the fastest assessment you can find around someone’s agility to learn. Part of this assessment will be measuring their cognitive ability. Within that will be some IQ, but more importantly how well and how fast they can learn. If you hire great learners, you will be farther ahead than most organizations.

Okay, what did I miss on who we should be IQ testing in the world? Hit me in the comments!

What in the France is going on in California!?

You might have seen this recently being discussed on the interwebs, but the California legislature introduced a bill that would shorten the workweek from 40 hours per week to 32 hours per week! From the WSJ:

“A bill moving through the Legislature would shorten California’s normal workweek to 32 hours from 40 for companies with more than 500 employees. Workers who put in more than 32 hours in a week would have to be paid time-and-a-half. And get this: Employers would be prohibited from reducing workers’ current pay rate, so they would be paid the same for working 20% less.”

“Democrats say a shorter workweek will help businesses retain burned-out workers and increase productivity and profits. “There has been no correlation between working more hours and better productivity,” Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia says.”

Do California Legislators Understand How Stuff Gets Built?

So, it’s not actually true that there isn’t a correlation between, hours, productivity, and profits. There might not be a massively strong correlation, but there is one! If you are building cars in an assembly plant, you can definitely build more cars in 40 hours than 32 hours, given all things are equal with the run rate of the line, supplies, etc. You can just turn the line on faster for 32 hours and make up the difference. It doesn’t work like that!

The issue is when we are talking about mostly white-collar work. Can an office worker get their week’s worth of work done in 32 hours vs. 40 hours if they focused and stay on task? Quite possibly, we see folks do this for a short period of time often. I live in Michigan and many Michigan employers will give their employees Friday off from June through August because of the nice weather or half-day Fridays, and workers just put in extra effort to make up for the lost time and productivity. But, this is done for a certain period, not on an ongoing basis.

Should the USA have a 32-hour workweek?

First, in a free democratic, capitalist society, which is what America is, I’m not in favor of the government dictating what a private business can do around working hours. We have worker protections in place already which I believe are fair and just, and economic market dynamics also force employers to be competitive.

If the government would like to make public employment a 32-hour workweek, well that is something they can vote on, and as citizens, we can decide if we want those politicians in office. I don’t think anyone in an HR role would be surprised this comes out of California. Historically, California is the biggest pain in the neck for HR pros.

Second, I like to believe that there is still an American Dream. This can be debated, but with millions of immigrants still trying to get into the U.S., I think it’s alive and well for the vast majority of individuals. Part of that dream is being able to build a business and make it successful. That takes work, more than 32 hours a week type of work. I get this potential law is for businesses over 500, but it still makes no sense for a fast-growing business.

In today’s world, workers have choices, and businesses have choices. If a business feels it is in their best competitive advantage to offer a 32-hour workweek at full salary, they can do that. They shouldn’t be forced to do this, let simple economic theory play itself out.

Okay, HR Pros, hit me in the comments – what do you think? Should California/America employers over 500 be forced to offer a 32-hour workweek at a full salary?

Oracle Launches Employee Experience Platform and It’s All About “ME”!

Okay, tongue in cheek title for sure, but the new Oracle EX Platform is actually called “ME” (pronounced “Mee” by stands for “My Experience”) and I wrote an eBook around Employee Experience that Oracle and I co-branded for the launch! So, in a way, it is still all about “me” as well! 😉

The eBook is titled “2022 Could Be The Year of the Great Retention!” (click to download). The book focuses on 3 core areas that organizations need to improve on to increase their employee experience, which will, in turn, increase your retention!

What is Oracle’s new EX Platform?

Oracle ME, is a complete employee experience platform to help organizations increase employee engagement and ensure employee success. Part of Oracle Fusion Cloud Human Capital Management (HCM), Oracle ME enables HR and business leaders to streamline communications across the organization, increase productivity by guiding employees through complex tasks, and improve talent retention by developing a more supportive and trusted environment at work.

Oracle ME includes:

  • Oracle Touchpoints is a new employee listening solution that helps managers strengthen relationships with their employees and better support workforce wellbeing and success. Natively developed within Oracle Cloud HCM, Oracle Touchpoints allows managers to regularly capture, track, and act on employee sentiment to build trust with their teams and promote an inclusive work environment. Managers get continuous employee insights through pulse surveys and receive recommended next actions to take, such as scheduling check-ins, providing feedback, or celebrating moments that matter. The employee engagement center within Oracle Touchpoints allows employees to take an active role in their success and satisfaction by providing a single place to define and organize topics for check-ins, review meeting history, provide ongoing feedback, and access suggested actions.
  • Oracle HCM Communicate is a new employee outreach solution that allows HR teams to design, send, monitor, and measure the impact of communications. Built directly into Oracle Cloud HCM, HCM Communicate is connected to an organization’s workforce data, making it easy for HR teams to create and target personalized communications to groups with highly specific characteristics. For example, HR teams can send a message to workers in a specific city or country who are within two years of employment and enrolled in a particular training course. With HCM Communicate, HR teams can also measure engagement with the content through open rate analysis and seamlessly send follow-ups or set up ongoing campaigns to drive more effective and engaging communications.
  • Oracle Journeys is a workflow solution that simplifies complex tasks with step-by-step processes and personalized guidance that helps employees navigate personal, professional, administrative, and operational activities, including onboarding, returning to work safely, growing career opportunities, managing team compensation, or opening a new facility. New enhancements help employees make informed decisions by surfacing personally relevant instructions, training, and analytics along their guided digital journey. Oracle Journeys can be extended to include workflow actions and resources from other Oracle and third-party applications to deliver guidance for different business needs across the organization.
  • Oracle Connections is an interactive workforce directory and organization chart that fosters collaboration and increases opportunities for inclusion and internal mobility by making it easier for employees to search for and connect with others across the organization. Employees can import their LinkedIn profiles, record video introductions, highlight their unique skills and accomplishments, and share feedback on each other’s walls to better learn about one another and grow their professional network.
  • Oracle HR Help Desk is a service request management solution that makes it easy for all workers to get the answers they need and for HR to effortlessly track cases without the risk of sensitive data getting into the wrong hands. Employees can search for content, securely submit inquiries, and open help tickets through multiple channels including Oracle Digital Assistant, SMS, email, and social platforms.
  • Oracle Digital Assistant is an HR chatbot that provides a conversational interface for employees to get immediate answers to questions and easily complete transactions directly through voice or text. HR teams can deploy Oracle Digital Assistant quickly to support over 90 prebuilt transactions and can extend the solution to support new processes or requirements.

What do I really like about Oracle ME?

Simply? It’s the personalization aspect of the platform. Each employee can make it their own. It allows each employee to connect, grow, and thrive in their own way and on their own timeline. This isn’t an experience that is force-fed to them by their manager or HR, but it’s also not a traditional self-service HR tech that is unhelpful.

Touchpoints are just something that once you have them you will wonder why you always didn’t have them, for both leaders and employees. It just makes sense! It’s a great way for both leaders and employees to work together to make the work experience more satisfying and engaging.

Also, the HR Comms aspect of ME is something HR professionals and leaders will fall in love with. The ability to track and nurture your HR communications and have a dashboard to easily get updates on is really powerful, but ME also allows you to easily target your communications as well. It’s a tool most of us wish we have in HR.

Oracle ME is a big launch for Oracle Cloud HCM and you can see a lot of time and effort went into making it right. It’s something I think Oracle HCM customers and their employees will fall in love with.

How to Improve HR Conferences Post-Pandemic

Hey gang, I’m on my way back from SHRM Talent in Denver and thinking about how we can improve the conference experience. My favorite conference to attend is SHRM Talent. Almost everyone I run into as a TA title and these are my people! Shared pain brings us all closer together!

I was having a conversation with an attendee with the premise, what if never had HR conferences, so we had no preconceived notions of what an HR conference should be, what would we do differently? Here are some of my ideas:

– Virtual conferences suck. The interaction is limited at best. I would love to see what Facebook/Meta spaces could be for virtual if we all had headsets in a virtual conference hall. So, I’m saying conferences should be in-person, but I know we’ll always have a virtual component moving forward.

– A one-hour+ presentation sucks. I actually don’t mind doing them because I love to hear myself talk! Also, in an hour you can fumble around and still get to the end with no problem. 15 -30 minutes you must be tight! You must get to the juicy stuff quickly! People pay greater attention to shorter time segments. We love TEDx presentations because they are 17 minutes and it leaves us wanting more!

– Every conference should have some sort of professional speed dating. The real reason we go to a conference is to expand our professional network, so we have folks to lean on when we need help outside our normal work network, which tends to be limited.

– Let’s say 500 people attend a session and on a scale of 1 to 10, let’s say 30 people give it an 11! They love it! They want more! Those 30 people should have some sort of way to set up additional times outside of the conference for further discussion and networking. Community building makes your conferences more sticky. 

– Don’t put everyone in dark conference ballrooms! Set up a stage outside in the sun and let folks get some vitamin D. RecFest in London is great at this. But you also have to have some balance for those who can’t take all the heat all day. But, if I’m in Vegas or Scottsdale in October, put a stage outside and let folks get some fresh air. We all need some recess! 

– More coordination amongst conference organizers. In 2022, this spring, I’ve already run into a week where there are 3 conferences going on in the same week that I want to attend. Can’t there be a big shared Google calendar? Hung Lee put one of these together but not enough conference organizers know about it, so they all plan their stuff in the same weeks.

– Better food and drinks. It’s 2022, and we can’t figure out what people want vs. these are the options we offer you? My kid’s high school can have a food court with 15 options, but somehow I’m paying $2,000 to attend an adult conference and I get dry chicken and wilted lettuce?! And never any diet Dew!? (Except SHRM Talent – Shoutout, I had diet Dew every day!)

– Put the best speakers and keynotes upfront. We do this dumb thing where we try and keep conference attendees to the end by putting the best content last. It doesn’t matter, 40% of the folks are taking off early. Every. Single. Time. Stop trying to force people to stay at your conference longer than they want. Just put the best upfront when everyone is there, and let the ones with average content get better with fewer people watching. Unless you have Oprah or Michelle Obama as your closing keynote, you’ll always have a big number taking off on the last day to get home at a decent time.

– Make attendees commit to expo demos. You get to come, but you actually need to do three demos. You think you’ll hate them, but you’ll actually learn something. If you don’t do them, you don’t get invited back. We’re here to learn and be better, it’s okay to place some expectations on attendees. I know this sounds stupid, but I think it would actually help HR Pros.

Okay, what are your HR Conference ideas?! Hit me in the comments, let’s come up with some awesome ways to make them better.

Why are we always trying to move up? #SHRMTalent

Yo! I’m still out in Denver at the glorious Gaylord Rockies for SHRM Talent. If I don’t make it back to Lansing, MI, there’s a 74% chance I got lost in the Gaylord and I’m thriving off the food small children dropped along the way.

Some common themes coming out of SHRM Talent:

  1. Hiring is hard.
  2. Employees seem changed. Neither good nor bad, but different.
  3. There’s a new normal, but we don’t know what that normal is yet.

One of those things that a lot of folks are talking about is what most of us consider the normal career ladder. You start at the bottom and then you spend the next 40 years of your life climbing up it, and then you die. Turns out, people seem to think that isn’t as glorious as we make it out to be.

The problem is we still view this climb and desire to climb as one of the main characteristics of a great employee. Another problem is people want more and more money and the way to get more money is to get promoted. Another problem is many times the people who want to move up, actually suck at the next level. Another problem is we use the promise of promotion as a way to retain talent when our total compensation isn’t great.

We’ve got 99 problems, and moving up the career ladder is one big one!

How could we burn down the ladder and create something else?

If I had this answer, I would not be writing blog posts from the desk at a Marriott hotel in Denver on a Tuesday evening! Let’s be honest.

What I know is the future of talent development is going to look different. There will be ways for employees to move horizontal, down, and on an angle, not just up. We will figure out the compensation stuff. I mean we already have, but we get caught up in traditional compensation design and philosophy, another problem. Traditional labor seniority systems really did a job on us over the decades! We fight constantly to stay within those constraints at all levels and within all industries.

I think it starts with us developing employees around a concept of professional competence and skill development, and not around the next level up within the organization. There use to be a time in our world were we valued mastery. We devalue mastery in today’s world, and we overvalue one’s ability to navigate the path upward. Our children are taught that they should strive for and desire upward levels. Instead of reaching mastery within a field.

That’s a hard organizational culture shift to make happen.

I think the tech world might have a better chance of reaching it faster. In that world, the value of mastery is greater. You can be a master developer and definitely make more and bring more value to a company than the manager of product management. And that’s not dumping on someone who wants to lead people, because we all know how difficult that is as well. But, just because you lead people doesn’t mean you necessarily are more valuable than the people you lead individually.

It’s such a complex and difficult topic, which makes it fascinating to talk about the future and its potential. To work in a world where each person is valued on their individual skill set and not based on the level of organizational ladder achievement would definitely be something to see. I think we all know some managers that would be in for a pay cut!

“X” Won’t Respond to Me on @LinkedIn! How can I get them to respond? #SHRMTalent

I’m out in Denver this week at the SHRM Talent Conference. It’s packed with talent acquisition pros and everyone is super excited to be out and share, so the conversations have been really dynamic!

I got involved with a group of TA leaders where one asked the question: “We (their recruiters) can’t get software engineers to reply on LinkedIn. Does anyone know a way we can make that happen?” The next leader said, “Oh, we are having the same issue, but with accountants!” And then another in Healthcare. Basically, all of their teams were struggling to get responses on LinkedIn.

Oh, you all, are my people! Let’s talk shop!

I find there are a few kinds of people that will respond on LinkedIn without too much trouble:

  1. People who actually know you. Turns out, “network” is and should be about folks you actually know.
  2. Recruiters and Sales People. No explanation is needed.
  3. Life Coaches. See #2.
  4. Catfish and Scam Artist. I would think the LinkedIn algos could weed a lot of this out, but it just seems to grow.

Everybody else is really hard to get to respond to, especially if there’s no connection and it’s a cold outreach.

I’m going to answer the main question with a question. Don’t you hate that! Here’s my question: “If they won’t respond to you as a recruiter, who would they respond to?”

Take a minute, gather stakeholders, and answer that question.

If I’m a software engineer, and there’s a professional networking site I’m on, who would I normally respond to?

  • People I’m connected to through work, school, life, etc.
  • People I view as peers or superiors in my career.
  • People who think might be able to offer me some value. (No, your job isn’t of value to them)

If this is the case, why are we having recruiters reach out to candidates on LinkedIn at all? Why aren’t hiring managers and organizational leaders reaching out? That’s really the question! A potential candidate is exponentially more likely to respond to a peer in their skill profession or leader in their skill profession or an executive from your company.

Why?

Because they feel like that “direct” connection has value. If I’m a software engineer and VP of Engineering from a local company reaches out to connect with me, I’m much more likely to connect with this person. If I’m a manager or some function and the CEO of a company reaches out to me to connect to share leadership philosophy, I’m almost always going to accept that connection.

How do I get my Hiring Managers and/or Executives to do my Sourcing on LinkedIn?

Well, if the pain is enough for the organization you might be able to make this happen, but the reality is, it won’t be consistent enough to make a difference. The better way is to have your TA team partner with these folks and allow them to run their accounts. If I support the VP of Engineering, I’m 100% sure I would have a relationship where she would allow me access to her LinkedIn. This would happen because I would be beyond professional in using it and also give her a weekly activity report of what I did and what happened.

I’ve done this with both LinkedIn and their work email. In a way, I’m their AI bot! I’m going to use your profile to help us attract talent, and when we find someone with interest, I’ll do a transfer from you to me as the recruiter, so the candidate is left to believe a handoff happened and it’s going to be an awesome experience.

Some people think this is deceitful. I get it, but I don’t truly believe it’s different from acting like your chatbot or our crappy mass email that is made to look like it’s personal but it’s just automation. I’m not trying to deceive the candidate, I’m trying to make a connection with them and one of my leaders, in hopes that turn into interest.

Tell me why or why not this wouldn’t work in your organization?

4 Tips in Hiring Candidates with Grit!

In our ever-constant struggle to find the secret sauce of finding the best talent, many organizations are looking to hire candidates who have grit. What the heck is grit? Candidates who have grit tend to have better resolve, tenacity, and endurance.

Ultimately, executives are looking for employees who will get after it and get stuff done. Employees who aren’t waiting around to be told what to do, but those who will find out what it is we should be doing and go make it happen. Grit.

In tough economic times, our organizations need more employees with grit!

It seems so easy until you sit down in front of a candidate and try and figure out if the person actually has grit or not! You take a look at that guy from 127 Hours, the one who cut his own arm off to save his life. That’s easy, he has grit! Susy, the gal sitting across from you, who went to a great state school, and worked at a Fortune 500 company for five years, it’s hard to tell if she has grit or not!

I haven’t found a grit test on the market, so we get back to being really good at questioning and interviewing to raise our odds we’ll make the right choices for those with grit over those who tell us they have grit but really don’t!

When questioning candidates about their grit, focus on these four things:

  1. Passion. People with grit are passionate about something. I always feel that if someone has passion it’s way easier to get them to be passionate about my business and my industry. If they don’t have a true passion for anything, it’s hard to get them passionate about my organization.
  2. Doer. When they tell you what they’re passionate about, are they backing it up by actually doing something with it? I can’t tell you how many times I’ll ask someone what their passion is and then ask them how they’re pursuing their passion and they’ve done nothing!
  3. What matters to them. Different from a passion, you need to find out what matters to these people in a work setting. Candidates with grit will answer this precisely and quickly. Others will search for an answer and feel you out for what you’re looking for. I want a workplace that allows me to… the rest doesn’t matter, they know, many have no idea.
  4. Hope. To have grit, to be able to keep going when the going gets tough, you must have hope that things will work out. The glass might be half full or half empty, it doesn’t matter, because if I have a glass, I’ll find something to put in it!

I’ve said this often, but I believe individuals can acquire grit by going through bad work situations. We tend to want to hire perfect unscarred candidates from the best brands who haven’t had to show if they have grit or not.

I love those candidates with battle wounds and scars from companies that were falling apart but didn’t. I know those people had to have the grit to make it out alive!  I want those employees by my side when we go to battle.

Should Corporate Recruiters Get Paid Salary & Commission?

First, shoutout to @Hervbird21 (Recruister) on Twitter for starting this conversation (Editor’s Note: Hervbird21 I don’t know who you are but send me a note and I’ll share your LinkedIn if you’d like) Also, take a look at the Twitter thread as there are some exceptional recruiting thought leaders who had thoughts on this subject.

Link to the thread

I’ve written about this a number of times over the years, but with the recruiting market being so hot right now, I’ve actually had a number of Recruiter compensation calls with corporate TA leaders trying to figure out three main things: 1. How do we retain our recruiters; 2. How do I attract more recruiters; 3. How do we reward great recruiting performance?

First, I’m all in on the fact that recruiters should be paid in a pay-for-performance model. That doesn’t mean that corporate recruiters, agency recruiters, and RPO should all be paid the same way. All three of those roles are different and should be compensated based on what the organization needs from each recruiter.

Let’s take a look at the Pros and Cons of Performance Pay for Corporate Recruiters

Pros:

  • You get more of what you measure and more of what you reward.
  • Your best recruiters will be compensated more, and higher compensation is tied to longer tenure.
  • Low performers and internal recruiters who actually hate recruiting will hate it and self-select out.
  • It will most likely raise individual recruiting team member performance in the aggregate.

Cons:

  • You will most likely have turnover with this type of change
  • Potentially, you could get behaviors that aren’t team-oriented. (IE., senior recruiters not helping junior recruiters)
  • Potentially, you could lower your quality of candidates as recruiters move quickly to gain performance comp. (the quantity over quality argument)
  • It actually might increase your compensation budget, initially, until you can find the model that is most effective.

Okay, wait, why did I say “potentially” on the Cons? Primarily, because it truly depends on the model design. Just making a decision to pay more for hires is ridiculous and leads to bad outcomes. But, developing a model that rewards individual performance that is based on recruiting behaviors that lead to better hires, quickly, and in a team setting, well, now you diminish the negative outcomes of pay for performance.

How could we make pay for performance work for corporate recruiters?

I’m not trying to dump on all the folks who commented on “Quarterly Bonuses” but stop that! “Quarterly Bonus” really means, “I don’t want to be individually measured and held accountable, but I also want more money on top of my great base salary”. Quarterly bonuses in most corp TA shops are a joke. They are usually based on Hiring Manager satisfaction and days to fill, two of the most subject measures that have zero correlation to better recruiting.

Also, internal recruiting pay for performance is not just a modified agency or RPO model. Corporate recruiters do much more than just recruit in most TA departments, so if you reward them to just recruit, understand, you’re just standing up an in-house agency model. Your internal recruiting model for corporate has to be unique to the job.

Some thoughts and ideas:

– Spend a bunch of time deciding what you actually want from your recruiters and from your function as a whole. Those two things must be aligned.

– Before going to a pay for performance model you need to get your arms around your recruiting funnel data. Otherwise, you’re just guessing at what and who to reward.

– In most cases, you can’t make the rewards the same because recruiters have different requisition loads and levels of position. Also, in most cases, certain areas of your organization hire at different times. So, get ready to test and be flexible to do the right thing at the right time.

– It’s okay if a recruiter makes more than you think if the model is producing what you want it to produce. Too often I hear from TA leaders that are like, “Jill is making too much!” But, Jill it killing it and the top recruiter.

– If you can’t get your head around paying for hires, pay for the behaviors and activities that lead to more hires.

– Start with a month or quarter test, make sure during the test no one will lose money. The goal is to try and reach some sort of outcome of better performance, to see if it can work. If they are only concerned they might make less money, you won’t truly see what can work or not work.

– It’s not about quality or quantity. It’s about quality and quantity. I’ve never led a recruiting team in a corporate or agency where good recruiters would ever send a crappy candidate on purpose. That just doesn’t happen, normally. If it did, that recruiter didn’t belong on the team.

I don’t believe in recruiting “team” rewards as pay for performance in most cases. Most teams are not designed and measured for “team” performance, so many on the team are getting the reward for a few doing most of the heavy lifting. You can still have team rewards, but you truly have to think about how you reward your most effective recruiters, short and long-term.

I think the ideal ratio for compensation for corporate recruiters should be 75% base salary and 25% pay for performance, where your best top recruiters can make 125% of their normal total comp if they are killing it. As I mentioned above, you will have recruiters quit because you have “recruiters” on your team that didn’t take the job to recruit, but to administer a recruiting process and collect a nice base salary.

Okay, tell me what I missed in the comments or if you have a model that is working you would like to share with everyone!