Best Practices

Google is considered one of the most desirable companies to work for by a huge host of young and talented individuals.  Google receives over 1.5 million applications per year for only 6,000 positions.  This means they can select from a massive pool of candidates, accepting only the top 0.04%.  Thus Google manages to cull many of the most intelligent and inventive individuals on the market, strengthening the company and creating a positive feedback cycle where they become ever more productive and ever more desirable a place to work. Your company may not be Google, but you can steal a page from their book to make your business more attractive to applicants. The better your pool of candidates, the stronger your employees will be and the more your company will prosper. Google hiring process boasts a second point of strength: it shuns traditional interview questions, using quirky challenges to separate the creative brains from the conventional.  This helps Google build an inventive yet homogenous culture of unified and like-minded individuals.

Can you tell when a job applicant is being honest with you?  You probably answered yes, but the unfortunate truth is that lying during the hiring process is becoming increasingly common, and increasingly difficult to detect.  Entire websites are dedicated to helping candidates falsify details of their resumes, and a whopping 56% of resumes contain embellishments and outright lies regarding previous dates of employment, job descriptions, education, and more. To help you avoid getting scammed by job seekers, here are a few of the most egregious hiring horror stories, and a few lessons we can learn from them: Hiring Horror Stories: 1. Candidate Listed Himself As CEO Of The Company He Was Applying For
I was screening applicants for a mid-level position at a Fortune 500 company.  As part of the process, we checked the candidates' profiles on a variety of social media and networking sites.  One applicant had himself listed as CEO of our company on Facebook.  Judging from his Facebook page, I wouldn't have hired him for the mailroom.

There's a lot of common knowledge about what constitutes "good management" and "employee motivation".  But common knowledge is simply that: common.  It's not necessarily accurate or effective.  In fact, there are a number of myths about employee engagement that I'd like to dispel. 3 Myths About Employee Engagement and Motivation: 1. You Should Always Put On A Good Face For Your Employees Positivity is important, but you know what else is important?  Truth.  There's a reason why "The Matrix" was such a popular movie, and it wasn't only the pleather bondage gear and Keanu Reeve's deadpan delivery.  "The Matrix" offered a basic dilemma: would you rather live in a carefully constructed fantasy, or the terrifying real world?  Would you rather have happiness or the truth?  Keanu took the red pill, and most of your employees want the same.  They want to know what's going on.

Earlier this year, Accu-Screen released a study showing that a whopping 78% of resumes include misleading information, while 54% are padded with outright lies.  Job candidates lie about all kinds of things including fraudulent degrees, inflated job titles, altered dates of employment, and excised criminal histories.  It's sad to say, but the majority of resumes contain exaggerations or lies.  Accu-Screen has been charting this kind of data for over 15 years, and they say that resume falsification peaks in times of economic distress and tough job markets.  That means that companies hiring today need to be especially vigilant so they don't get duped by disingenuous job applicants. The cost of hiring a dishonest employee is steep: not only is the person likely to perform badly and possibly even swindle your company in other ways, but your company could be on the hook for damages if incompetency or an undisclosed criminal history causes problems for clients and co-workers. 5 Tools For Finding And Hiring Honest Employees: 1. Background Checks An extensive background check is the most important step you can take to suss out major issues like criminal history.  Your business can and should hire experts to perform a full background check on every employee you hire.

Some companies don't consider Facebook a prime location to find quality employees, preferring to focus on more "professional" employment-related sites like LinkedIn or Monster.com.  However, Facebook actually has many advantages for recruiting young, media-savvy, creative employees. The Advantages of Recruiting On Facebook: 1. Facebook Has More Members Than Any Other Social Media Site For sheer volume of candidates, Facebook can't be beat.  It has over a billion members, more than 5 times as many as LinkedIn. 2. More People Are Looking For A Job On Facebook Than You Think You may consider Facebook a site to share party pictures and reconnect with old boyfriends from high school, but in fact, 48% of all job-seekers (and 63% of people who have a Facebook profile) used Facebook to hunt for a job last year.

In 2008, three professors from the Harvard Business School launched a study examining employees at 300 different Fortune 500 companies.  The purpose of the study was to determine which psychological factors impact employee motivation and morale.  (To read the full analysis, click here.) The study found that employees are guided by 4 basic emotional needs or drives: 1. The Drive To Acquire The drive to acquire is the need to obtain resources, including money and more intangible assets like social status. 2. The Drive to Bond The drive to bond is the desire to form connections with individuals and groups.  In the workplace this includes a desire to form relationships with both peers and managers.

Last week I wrote about the proven effectiveness of employee reward programs.  But those statistics assume your company is using an effective reward program.  Unfortunately, some types of employee rewards are less helpful than others, or don't work at all.  If you want to get the biggest bang for your buck, make sure you're investing in a program that works! 3 Types of Employee Reward Programs That Simply Don't Work: 1. Tenure Programs In a recent study by Forbes, researchers found that 87% of recognition programs focus on tenure.  Employees are rewarded simply for staying at a company a really long time.  Unfortunately, rewarding tenure doesn't work.  As Forbes put it,
Tenure-based rewards systems have virtually no impact on organizational performance. Did you stay an extra year at your last job so you could get a 10-year pin? I doubt it. It turns out that many of these tenure-based rewards programs are really legacy programs from the turn of the century when labor unions forced management to give employees “service awards” and hourly raises for tenure. Most large companies still have these programs today, yet... for the most part they aren’t creating much value.

Employee Recognition is a major industry.  Today most companies spend 1-3% of payroll on employee rewards, for a total expenditure of $46 billion per year.  But is that investment actually profitable?  Does money spent on employee recognition reap real, measurable returns? The answer is yes.  Here are 4 recent studies that show the real, measurable, statistical difference between companies that invest in employee recognition programs, and companies that don't. 4 Statistics That Prove Employee Recognition Programs Are Effective: 1. Recognition Programs Reduce Turnover In a recent study by Forbes, companies that scored in the top 20% for building a "recognition-rich culture" enjoyed a 31% lower voluntary turnover rate.  31% is huge!  Turnover costs companies thousands of dollars in recruiting, hiring, and training, to say nothing of the lower productivity of a disengaged or dissatisfied employee.  Most studies estimate that it costs 30-50% of their annual salary to replace an entry-level employee, and 150% of the annual salary of a mid-level employee.  A decrease in turnover of 31% could easily save your company tens of thousands of dollars a year.

Everybody knows that reward programs, perks, and bonuses are all beneficial in motivating current employees and making your company desirable to new recruits.  However, while some employee rewards are simply "fun", others have a significant impact on your employees' productivity and quality of life. 3 Types Of Rewards That Make A Significant Difference To Your Employees: 1. Onsite Daycare Onsite daycare is one of the most considerate and impactful perks you can offer your employees.  It's particularly significant for female employees, who are the fastest growing and most highly educated segment of the workforce.  When you allow your female employees to keep their children close (particularly babies who might still be nursing), you allow women to return to work much sooner after giving birth, and you decrease the emotional trauma and stress of parting from a child too soon.  Operating an onsite daycare at cost can be a huge financial savings to employees (vs. a for-profit daycare), and the proximity of the children allows parents to visit on breaks and over lunch hour, reducing sick days and increasing the family time that boosts happiness and focus.